Kenya launches new vehicle repairs code

Kenya Bureau of Standard Managing Director, Charles Ongwae said last week, this is one way of helping to cut down on accidents caused by faulty repairs.

“There are many benefits in formalising the repair industry. Motorists will get value for their money and enjoy greater safety and garages will grow and employ more people which means more taxes will be raised,” he said.

Bernard Ngore, the Chair of the Kenya Motorist Repair Association (Kemra) blamed the situation on, “unethical, amateurish and negligent motor vehicle repair.”

“The only way to ensure something is done right the first time is to have a standardised way of doing it. That is why the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Kemra in conjunction with other stakeholders have developed quality and repair standards KNWA: 2460–Code of Practice for Motor Vehicles Garages for Repair and Services,” Ngore said.

He regretted that only 20% of informal garages and workshops follow professional standards.

“Even then, these are not centrally regulated. The rest embrace a here-today-gone-tomorrow attitude that does not promise any shade of quality,” he said.

The motor vehicle repair industry has two categories. The first involves dealers who sell new vehicles as well as offer after-sales service but which is limited to a few years or a set mileage.

After the warranty expires, vehicle owners are free to seek competitive rates in the open market for repair and service of their vehicles.

The second category of repairers are the so-called independent workshops or garages that handle the bulk of second-hand import vehicles.

According to an insurance industry report of 2012, accident-related net claims were worth Ksh16.45 billion (about $180 million). Out of this, Ksh11.5 billion went to repair-related work with independent repairers earning Ksh9.2 billion.

Kemra, which has 55 members, estimates the turnover of independent workshops stands at Ksh15.3 billion per annum and employs about 15,000 people.

Industrialization and Enterprise Principal Secretary Dr. Wilson Songa said the new standards will create room for new jobs.

He said, “In December 2012, the Ministry of Industrialization tasked the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Kenya Motorist Repair Association with the responsibility of developing standards for the auto industry and come up with a code of practice for repairing of motor vehicles.”