Blantyre — The Malawi Bureau of Standard (MBS) has blamed the increased presence of unreliable electrical appliances on the country's markets because of the loopholes in border posts and the availability of unchartered routes which unscrupulous traders use to smuggle the items.
The country's official regulator's outcry comes following public reaction to continued occurrence of fires in residential houses and the razing down of markets in most parts of the country that are said to be resulting from uncertified appliances that enter the country through unchartered means and poor certification procedures.
"It all depends on the entry regime for the products. Products that pass through legitimate entry points into Malawi and do not bypass MBS assessment procedures are subjected to assessment and appropriate action is taken depending on the outcome of the assessment.
"It should be noted however, that our borders are porous and products can (sometimes) bypass regulatory check points and end up on the market without certification," reacted MBS Information Officer, Moses Gwaza who however, called for a complete survey to determine the claims.
He said the institution carries out inspections and tests on all electrical equipment that pass through their standard checking system to determine their usability.
Gwaza blamed dishonest importers and traders that go around the institution's certification process by using illegitimate border entry points and invade the market without being checked arguing the Bureau's certification process is water tight.
To quell the situation, he said, MBS conducts spot checks on the market to verify products' compliance to standards saying through such exercises substandard products are flashed out.
The MBS Information Officer however, admitted that their officers are overwhelmed when carrying out the exercise with the large number of markets.
Explained Gwaza; "MBS may not be everywhere hence the establishment of a consumer complaints service to handle user complaints as stipulated in the MBS Act."
Officials from the country's immigration department were not immediately available for comment. However, Chief Immigration Officer, Hudson Mankhwala recently told the Malawi News Agency (Mana) that the institution is currently in the process of computerizing the country's border posts and has so far managed to automate three posts namely Kamuzu and Chileka International Airports and Songwe border post.
He however, admitted that the exercise is facing various challenges including shortage of funding such that the project is yet to commence its second phase.
Upon completion the exercise is expected to enhance product checks in the border post, according to the immigration chief.