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News: Institute introduces 385 mandatory, voluntary standards across six key sectors

Upon receiving approval from the National Standards Council, the Ethiopian Standards Institute recently introduced a total of 385 standards spanning six pivotal sectors (Photo: ESI/Facebook)

Addis Abeba – The National Standards Council has recently endorsed 385 Ethiopian standards across six key sectors. Out of this total, 12 standards are obligatory, while the remaining are voluntary.

The Ethiopian Standards Institute revealed that among the approved standards, 233 are entirely new, and 152 have undergone revisions.

These standards span a range of industries, including electromechanical, textile and leather, environmental health and safety, construction and civil engineering, chemical and chemical products, as well as agriculture and food.

The newly mandated standards cover areas such as electrical equipment and power transmitters, medicines, and medical equipment.

Meseret Bekele, director general of the institute, highlighted ongoing efforts in promoting and raising awareness for the implementation of both mandatory and voluntary standards.

She emphasized the need for relevant bodies such as the Food and Drug Control Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Construction Authority to actively monitor and enforce the standards issued by the Institute across all sectors.

However, enforcing mandatory and voluntary standards has posed challenges for government institutions.

Despite the introduction of mandatory fortification standards for imported wheat flour and edible oil last year, the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration encounters difficulties in implementing these regulations.

Subsequent to the Council of Standards’ approval of fortification standards one year ago, importers were granted a one-year grace period for compliance. However, as of July 2023, this grace period has lapsed.

Recent inspections conducted by the ministry reveal a substantial proportion of imported wheat flour and edible oil products failing to meet the mandatory fortification standards introduced over a year ago.

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The Ministry attributes this non-compliance to insufficient communication regarding the fortification standards, particularly among importers who predominantly utilize the franco valuta mechanism without establishing a Letter of Credit at commercial banks operating in the country.

In mid-December 2023, the ministry decided to extend the grace period until 08 March, 2024.

This decision follows the identification of a significant accumulation of imported cooking oil and wheat flour found to be deficient in the mandatory vitamin fortification requirement within various customs offices and dry ports.

The Institute, a government entity, collaborates with 205 national standards preparation technical committee members selected from diverse public and private institutions. The technical committees present the list of standards to the 15-member National Standards Council for approval.

Over the course of 50 years, the Institute has issued 11,890 general standards, with 350 of them approved as mandatory. AS

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