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Regulatory Authority

The Regulatory Authority is responsible to ensure that the products and services falling within the scope of a technical regulation do indeed meet the requirements, and it has to have legal authority to do so. The Regulatory Authority is therefore either a Government Department, a Statutory Body established specifically for this function (i.e. telecommunications) or as is the case in many developing economies, also in the EAC, the National Standards Bodies.

In addition, the way in which these Regulatory Authorities go about their business varies tremendously. In principle they should conduct market surveillance, approve products and apply sanctions. In many economies the Regulatory Authorities have to approve products before they can be marketed. In other economies, notably the European Union, this function has been delegated to conformity assessment organizations, i.e. Notified Bodies.

For the supplier the identification of the Regulatory Authorities can be a frustrating business, as more than one can be involved in a specific product, e.g.
  • For a fax machine it is quite possible that the Telecommunication Agency (connectivity to the telephone system), the Standards Body (electromagnetic interference) and the Electricity Regulator (for electrical safety) will have to be satisfied.
  • For bottled water it is possible that the Department of Health (health requirements), the Standards Body (packaging and labelling) and the Legal Metrology Division (metrology requirements) can be involved.
In some economies the Regulatory Authorities are funded by the state, and the supplier does not have to pay any fees. In many developing economies however, the Regulatory Authorities are empowered to raise fees. These vary from about 0.1% to 1.0% of factory price of the product and are payable at monthly, three monthly, six monthly or yearly intervals.

For the supplier not to fall foul of a myriad of requirements, proper and complete information is therefore very important, and the National TBT Enquiry Point may be a useful starting point to obtain this information.
see also
Check also from the consumers protection chapter;
Economic Development

East African Business Council