TANZANIA – Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and Zanzibar Bureau of Standards (ZBS) have inked a pact that would enable the organisations to work effectively to control the importation of substandard goods into the country.

This was said on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam by the TBS Acting Director General, Joseph Masikitiko, when briefing members of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, Industry and Trade who visited the bureau.

He said once approved, the MoU would help reduce the problem of substandard goods being imported into the country through ‘panya’ routes.

He said Tanzania is a big country and most of the substandard goods are imported through ‘panya’ routes, hence joint collaboration between Zanzibar and Mainland is needed to address the situation.

According to him, the pact would also enable TBS to assist ZBS in inspecting goods before they are entered into the market in Zanzibar or mainland.

“We will be inspecting quality of goods imported in Zanzibar, if they are of substandard quality, they will be returned to their original countries or destroyed at the cost of importers,” he stressed.

He launched a special collaboration committee that will assist the two organisations to work effectively on the issues of standardisation and quality assurance.

However, already ZBS and TBS have formed a taskforce that would review the MoU from time to time as the case may be, present to CEOs for approval and advice CEOs on all matters related to standardisation and quality assurance. 

For his part, a committee member, Habib Mnyaa, applauded the good job done by the bureaus, adding that ZBS particularly needs such collaboration to be able to take off and excel.

He urged the government to support the bureaus’ efforts by ensuring that standardisation and quality assurance activities are handled effectively and all challenges that standard bodies face are contained.

Speaking at the meeting, the Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade Janeth Mbene, said joint efforts are needed to contain importation of substandard products into the country.

“The ministry alone cannot fight in this war, we need a joint and strong collaboration from stakeholders including the community to assist us,” she said.

She said the ‘panya’ routes are well known, what is needed is the government to take strong actions against notorious areas.

“Let us deal with the areas which are notorious in importation of substandard goods which have adversely affect economy of country,” she said.

Earlier, the committee chairperson, Luhaga Mpina, called for enactment of by-laws to enable local government authorities) check sub-standard products in their localities.

He said TBS had seen the need to involve local governments as it struggles to increase its human resources capacity in order to implement its various programmes, including opening zonal offices countrywide.

Since the enactment of the new TBS Act in 2009, the participation of local government authorities in its implementation has been very minimal and stakeholders have been warning that the situation was unhealthy as it was difficult to deal with inferior goods by focusing on cities and urban areas alone.

January 20, 2015; http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=76381