TANZANIA – All imported goods are now to be stamp marked with a government certification logo that will verify their standards and safety.

“The import standardisation mark (ISM) is ready and we have already trained staff to handle the implementation…we are ready to put it into practice,” announced the Acting Director General of Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Joseph Masikitiko.

Speaking to The Guardian in an exclusive interview at the turn of the week, Acting Director General Masikitiko explained that the ultimate goal of the ISM is to protect the consumer.

“Substandard goods pose great health and safety risks to the consumers,” he said.

Masikitiko went on to explain that the substandard and counterfeit products also hurt local industries because they pose unfair competition against genuine products.

“Cheap counterfeit imports hurt local industries because they are sold at lower prices compared to the genuine products,” he said.

“We are in the final stages of implementation, all imported products will be required to bear the import standardisation mark from TBS regardless of the fact that they may already have similar standard marks from their country of origin,” he said.

In another development, Acting Director General Masikitiko announced TBS plans to open zonal offices in Mwanza and Arusha regions later this year.

“We want to serve more people and bring our services closer to their areas of work,” he said.

“The new offices will ease customers’ access to our services…most of them are now compelled to travel to Dar es Salaam and that adds to their operation expenses which deters many from complying,” he said.

“We will also open more border offices later this year at Tunduma in Mbeya Region, Kasumulu and Mtukula in Kagera Region,” he went on to announce.

The Bureau has also been working on a special campaign to mobilise small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) to get standard certification for their products to ensure they meet required qualities which in turn will improve their access to both local and international markets.

Since 2008, over 230 SMEs have certified their products free of charge but much remains to be done since it is estimated that there Tanzania has an estimated more than 800,000 SMEs operating in various economic sectors.

October 7, 2014; http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=72915