The Ministry of Trade (MoT) is set to take measures against importers who have not yet received a standard quality certificate from a third party. This is a requirement, put into place by the Ministry in July 2013, for the importation of 57 items.
The new directive obliges all imported goods that are included under the list of Mandatory Ethiopian Standards (MES) to be accompanied by a laboratory test certificate from an authorised international company.
The Ministry is set to take measures against the backlog of importers who continue to take goods without undergoing the necessary inspections, even after the issuing of the directive.
According to the new requirement, the importers of those identified materials are supposed to get quality and standards certificates from internationally recognised institutions, such as the Bureau of Veritas, Cotena and Société Générale de Surveillance (SGC), among others.
"The Ministry will automatically take measures against any failure to comply with the regulation," Tamiru Geno, Import & Export Quality Control director at the MoT, told Fortune.
He said the Ministry made several attempts to give importers leverage on obtaining their certificates.
"But many of them have still failed to do so," he said.
So far, the Ministry has warned about 40 importers over the materials they import, saying that they fail to meet the standards. Among the total of importers given warning, 10 are soap importers.
The measures apply directly to the importers of steel, corrugated sheets of iron and electrical servers, among others.
The Ministry says it has been giving training to importers, complaining, however, that the turnout has been poor.
"Recently, we invited 130 importers, but only 30 of them attended," Tamiru claimed. "They are just forcing us to take measures."
The measures might include the revocation of licenses, Fortune learnt.
The Ministry has the power and duty to check whether the importers are working with the set standards before providing them with a license.
In addition, the directorate is authorised to carry out assessments and arrange agreements with third party conformity assessment bodies abroad to conduct pre-shipment inspections.
The Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise (ECAE) helps the Ministry by checking the quality certificates through conducting surveys.