Thursday, December 31, 2009

TZ private sector lauds US$ 1.5 billion stimulus

Saturday, 12 December 2009
DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA - The private sector in Tanzania has applauded the seven trillion (about $1.5 billion) economic stimulus package that was put in place by President Jakaya Kikwete to support exporters of agriculture commodities.
The money was given by the government in order to mitigate the effects of the global financial crisis.

"The central bank (BoT) Governor and his committee are working on the assessment of the impact of the stimulus package, expect that by mid January next year the report will be published," Tanzania's Minister for Finance & Economic Affairs Mustafa Mkullo noted.

The financial year 2009/2010 package ending in June 2010 was given to commercial banks to bail out exporters.Banks were given the package to save them from losses caused by the fall in prices and the demand for agricultural commodities due to the global financial crisis.

The major effects of the crisis included the reduction in the number of tourist arrivals, falls in exports demand in the world markets, a fall in remittances, reduction in government revenue among others.

Information from the Bank of Tanzania indicates that the economy growth declined to between 2.4% and 5% this year from the 7.5% recorded last year.The Executive Director for Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), Bernard Kihiyo, said the stimulus package has helped to strengthen the banking institutions which are lending to the productive sectors of the economy. The Director General for Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO), Mike Laizer, said that the package has been instrumental in reviving the financial and agriculture sectors.

"The package was a must for Tanzania's financial sector because without the backing up for the financial sector, the businesses in marketing and packaging of agricultural goods would have collapsed," Laizer said.

He called for a review of the taxation regime especially taxes applied to small producers, including the counterproductive six per cent training levy,"

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Tanzania: financial reforms fail on consumer protection

Friday, 27 November 2009 11:51 Written by Administrator
ALTHOUGH Tanzania has taken major efforts to reform the banking and financial institutions sector over the last two decades, the issue of consumer protection has remained virtually untouched by the 'reforms.

'This situation has led to increasing abuse of good business practices by many of the financial institutions and banks, as well as a singular lack of fairness and transparency in dealing with customers."The providers of financial services in Tanzania need to understand that, as long as they continue to gain unfairly from their customers.... they are nonetheless sowing the seeds of their own destruction...," said Daimon Mwakyembe, chairman of the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS).

Presenting a paper recently on 'The Quality of Financial Services: a Critique From Consumers' Perspective,' Mwakyembe cited as an example of bad practice the banks and financial institutions which “have continued to overcharge consumers in terms of fees, interest rates and commissions – while others reject low income consumers out of hand as 'unbankable.'”The occasion was a forum organized by the Government Controller & Auditor-General (CAG) in the nation's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

TCAS is a private, voluntary nongovernmental, non-partisan and nonprofit making organization that was registered as a company limited by guarantee in July 2007 under the Companies Act of 2002 (Chapter 212 of the Laws of Tanzania). The Society’s mission is to provide an advocacy platform that would make consumers' voices heard, raise consumers' awareness of their rights, build consumers' ability to claim their rights, as well as make markets accountable and more responsive to consumers' needs and interests.

Observers say most of the banks and financial institutions operating in Tanzania siphon billions of shillings off their customers as a matter of course. This is partly becauseof the latter's ignorance of their rights and dues, and partly because the reforms and extant legislation are silent on the matter.

Mwakyembe – who is a former director-general of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) – said despite the reforms, fairness and transparency in the treatment of customers is not always ensured... And lack of capability on the part of customers is still being exploited negatively.As a result, there is no mechanisms on how to curb abusive business practices by financial institutions at the national and international levels, and which adversely affect consumers.

Mwakyembe suggested that the (central) Bank of Tanzania and other relevant authorities need to urgently review the extant financial regulatory policies and legislation. The main objective this time should be to ensure that they – among things – reflect a wide view of consumer protection on ensuring proper business conduct.

It is noted that the Bank of Tanzania, which has the mandate to supervise the banking and financial industry as a whole, has no straightforward consumer protection guidelines.He said this situation will not favour the survival of financial institutions in the long run."Good quality service is a product of right consumer protection and is, thus, the new paradigm that is defining – and, indeed, influencing – the entire economic sector and economic relations," he said.

The International Monetary Fund's review of regulatory systems in 2004 did (among other things) advise on “stipulation and clear identification of common regulatory themes for consumer rights promotion and protection,” Mwakyembe noted.

"Despite efforts in addressing the competitiveness of the financial sector, consumer abuse and rights violation are on the rise, and are directly affecting the economic welfare of many consumers," he stressed.

Noting that ''the main part of poor services in Tanzania's financial market is contributed to mainly by lack of consumers' awareness on their rights when making choices'', Mwakyembe stressed that "inadequate consumer awareness on their rights and obligations is the main stumbling block for realization of good services..."Yet, if there is one area that the financial sector could use to address its economic malaise and ensure its sustainable future, it is through the provision of financial education to consumers.

This would be in line with the implementation of the United Nations Consumer Protection Guidelines of 1999 which encourage Governments and institutions to work out clear, fair, guidelines that protect the interest of consumers.A research conducted in 2007 by the Finscope Group showed that, in order to strengthen financial institutions in any country (including Tanzania), there is a need to promote financial capability to consumers.

This includes empowering people to be capable of managing their financial assets and liabilities, to understand their rights and responsibilities vis-a-vis financial institutions.Mwakyembe: "in my view, financial education to consumers should focus on building financial discipline, managing their incomes, boosting their saving behaviour and the promotion of risk mitigation," he concluded.

In another development, auditor-general of Sweden, Eva Lindstrom, commended the National Audit Office of Tanzania for taking the initiative to organise the forum which, she said, was relevant and timely. In these times of financial crisis, Lindstrom said, “Supreme Audit Institutions in many countries are challenged to properly address the audit of financial supervisory agencies that are aiming at consumer protection and mitigating the risks that large sums of taxpayers' money will have to be used for the rescue of the financial system.”

Noting that the events of the past year have highlighted the significance of financial supervision, she said that financial markets and their institutions must operate in a highly competitive environment – and there will always be efforts made to circumvent the regulations. A strong, independently-organized financial supervisory authority is, therefore, of the highest importance for the stability of the economy and taxpayers.”

The global financial crisis also pointed to the importance of supervision of not only separate financial institutions, but also of the entire financial system. Moreover, the Swede said, new regulations on financial markets will need to be introduced in the years to come, globally. Supervision of cross-border banks will have to be improved – which will most certainly mean more cooperation between financial supervisory agencies in different countries.

Lindstrom observed that central banks failed to foresee the effects of the deterioration of markets that led to liquidity problems. To that effect, monetary policies need to take into account financial stability... And it is within the mandate of central bank to monitor and handle monetary conditions.“The Supreme Audit Institutions have an important role to play in monitoring the operations of the financial supervisory agencies.

Those agencies make up a vital part of the financial infrastructure, and when that infrastructure fails, the costs of that failure are most often transferred to the taxpayers,” she elaborated. Thus we, as auditors, must make sure that we have the knowledge and competence required to audit these agencies. According to her, auditing will create confidence in the system, an asset which is vital in promoting effective financial markets and stable economic growth.


Beer market: players urged to uphold spirit of competition

Thursday, 01 October 2009 16:23 Written by Administrator

The beer market war going on in the country is most likely not to have any negative impact on revenue collection, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has said.

The beer market war that have been prompted by the East African Breweries Limited's (EABL) interest to buy major stake in Serengeti Breweries (SBL) and in doing so to quit its partnership with Tanzania Breweries (TBL) will not affect the inflows of the government revenue.

According to Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) commissioner-general, Harry Kitillya, “as long as the volume of beer consumption in Tanzania does not decrease, the country's economy will not be adversely affected in terms of revenues.”

Kitillya stressed that the Revenue Authority is looking for growth in beer consumption regardless of who teams up with who in the industry. Growth in consumption will consequently increase production and sales thereby enabling TRA to collect more revenue.

Daimon Mwakyembe, a former director-general of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), is of the opinion that application of the rules of competition in respect of anti-competitive cross-border business conduct should be looked into.

Mwakyembe, who is also the chairman of the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), said while consumer groups need to support and encourage action to raise public awareness of competition issues, the proactive contribution which consumers can make through their shopping choices and their rights if they are the victims of restrictive practices.

Furthermore, he said that there are two things one needs to take note in analyzing the merger between SBL and EABL; one is the fallout between EABL and TBL with their contractual obligation; the second thing is the market impact on the merger between EABL and SBL.

“When it comes to the pros and cons of the merger between SBL and EABL,” Mwakyembe stressed, “Tanzanians have all the rights to share their feelings on the issue as at the end of the day consumers are the ones going to benefit or suffer based on decisions going to be made.”

Speaking in a different vein, the TCAS chief, Bernard Kihiyo, told this paper that, in a free market economy, competition with other players in the market is not an option; what matters is fairness of the competition – no matter how big or small the player is.

Kihiyo – who is also the CEO for Parasol Real Estate Agent & Developer Ltd – that countries which are in the East African Community (EAC) should establish a sub-regional competition tribunal that would enforce harmonized competition legislation.

Kihiyo nonetheless says “consumers are aware of TBL’s strong dominance in the beer market in Tanzania, which is believed to be more than 60 per cent. Any merger now would further reduce competition in the industry – and increase beer prices.”

In any case, observers are of the general view that beer prices in Tanzania “are no longer determined by market forces – but at the whim of company accountants. prices have increased threefold since the wars started,” Kihiyo elaborated.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Consumer Education

The Guardian of 24th.Sept.2009
It has been noted that lack of consumer education from the lower levels of learning institutions has meant that few Tanzanians are conversant with it, hence the government has been advised to incorporate it in the basic school curriculum.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam this week, Seif Hamis Simba, a programme officer with the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), said consumer education is often not clearly and easily understood as it means different things from person to person.

He said, both children and adults should grow into becoming well-informed and critical consumers of products, commercial services, and public service. According to Simba, the process entails not so much the provision of consumer information regarding products, services, the environment and other considerations but rather the continuous cultivation and development of living skills.

He expands on this that the skills would include such cognitive powers as critical and conceptual thinking, knowledge and understanding the impact of individual, business and government decisions on consumers. “Consumer Education involves the development of abilities to make decisions in the purchase of goods and services in the light of personal values, maximum utilization of resources, available alternatives, and ecological considerations,” he said.

He said consumer education at school level is essential to provide the skills and knowledge to empower consumers and enable them use their resources effectively and increase their awareness of their wider role in society.

According to him, consumer education addresses not only the problems of consumers individually but also of sustainable consumption, social justice, human rights, ethical values and overcoming poverty. Consumer education contributes towards the formation of a participative, critical and competent citizenship.

He said specifically, consumer education enables individuals to develop the ability to possess a critical, consumer-reasoned appraisal. Reasoned appraisal could include the overall implications, both to the individual and society, of consuming that particular product or service.

“Through consumer education, consumers are equipped with knowledge, skills and understanding of the market. Consumer education enables consumers to judge and make competent decisions about their financial transactions”, he said.

It also stimulates the nation’s social and economic development. Consumers, who exercise free choice based on knowledge of the facts will be able to make the best use of resources within their sphere of influence.

In his comments, consumer advocate Bernard Kihiyo said that there are four aspects of consumer education. The first aspect is informed choice where consumers must learn to obtain information about goods and services.

Also to distinguish between different sources of information, understand the psychology of selling and advertising, learn to shop wisely, distinguish between needs and wants, understand the alternatives of conserving and saving rather than buying and consuming.

Monday, September 21, 2009

TBL, EABL battle: Call for establishment of East African Competition Tribunal

DAILY NEWS Reporter, 20th September 2009 @ 14:34
THE Tanzania Consumers Advocacy Society (TCAS), has recommended for establishment of East African Competition Tribunal which will harmonise the regional competition legislation, following the legal wrangle between the East African Breweries Limited (EABL) and the Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL).

The TCAS chairman, Mr Damon Mwakyembe, said there was no need for companies in the region to go to UK for competition dispute arbitration. The two beer companies are seeking arbitration in the UK, following the decision by EABL to buy substantial shares in Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL). “Such tribunal will apply rules of competition, in respect of anti-competitive cross border business and promote and protect competition in the community.

We do not have to go to UK for competition dispute arbitration in future,” said Mwakyembe, the former Director General of Tanzania Bureau Service (TBS). He said while consumer groups need to support and encourage public awareness of competition issues, still restrictive practices could affect consumers when making shopping choices.

On the EABL/TBL dispute, Mr Mwakyembe said the possible divorce of the two should respect contractual obligations of the two companies.

He, however, said that Tanzanians have the right to discuss possible merger between SBL and EABL, because eventually consumers would be the ones to benefit or suffer by such decision.

The Chief Executive Officer for Parasol Real Estate Agent & Developers Limited, Mr Bernard Kihiyo, said that fairness was key in the free market economy.

Mr Kihiyo who is also the Executive Director for TCAS, said in April 2007; his organisation, conducted a survey to 3,000 respondents in five regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Coastal, Mwanza and Dar es Salaam on competition.

He said 33 per cent of respondents said the merger of TBL and Kibo Breweries in 2002, had some anti-competitive arrangements that had serious consequences on beer prices.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ghana hosts conference on consumer protection in Africa

More than 250 policy makers, regulators, journalists and representatives from financial institutions and their apex organizations, the education sector, consumer protection agencies, and development partners from over 30 countries will participate in an international conference scheduled for 8 to 9 September 2009 in Accra.
The conference would be hosted in collaboration with the Partnership for Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A on the theme “Promoting Financial Capability and Consumer Protection – A Step Forward Towards Financial Inclusion in Africa.”
A statement from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning issued in Accra on Thursday, quoted Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning saying” Promoting financial capability is about raising awareness, promoting knowledge, building trust, and changing behaviour.”
“And it is not limited to educating consumers and enabling them to take informed decisions on saving, loan and investment products.
Additionally, management and staff of financial institutions need to be trained to become more responsive to the needs of their clients, and supervisors need the capacity to protect the consumers against fraud and other bad business practices.”
It is being organised against the background that low-income households in Africa often have limited access to demand-oriented and affordable financial services.
They include savings, loans, and insurance, which means that they have to revert to more expensive and less secure traditional alternatives of saving and borrowing and remain vulnerable to adverse shocks.
Research has shown that in order to strengthen financial institutions in Africa, there is the need to promote financial capability, to empower people to be capable of managing their financial assets and liabilities and to better understand their rights and responsibilities vis-a-vis financial institutions.
However, strengthening the financial capability of the population is not sufficient since governments also have a role to play in protecting consumers by ensuring that financial institutions apply recognized standards and suitable codes of conducts.
In order to create sustainable ‘win-win situations’ in this long-run, it is believed that financial capability measures need to go hand in hand with responsible, transparent and reliable services provided by financial institutions.
In moderated regional and national working groups, participants will have the chance to develop ideas and proposals as to what they think should be done in their country or region to improve financial capability.
A panel on social marketing will show films and discuss which marketing channels can be used best to address the different target groups of financial capability campaigns.
The Government of Ghana, together with the Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN), will hold as a prelude to the conference, a day’s Pre-Conference on “Promoting Financial Capability and Consumer Protection in Ghana” on September 7, 2009.
According to Mr Seth Terkper, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, “Financial capability is very high on the political agenda of the Government.”
He said “Ghana is one of the first countries in Africa that has developed and started to implement a National Strategy for Financial Literacy and Consumer Protection in the Microfinance Sector”.
Over the past two years, “financial literacy road shows” have been carried out in all 10 regions of Ghana, easy-to-understand educational materials have been developed and distributed, high school quizzes have been organized, and radio programs on saving and responsible borrowing as well as television sitcoms on insurance have been telecast.
All activities will culminate at the Ghana Financial Literacy Week, which will take place from 28 September 28 to October 3, 2009.
Against this background, over 150 Ghanaian and international financial sector champions from the public sector and the financial sector as well as representatives from academia, consumer protection agencies, non-governmental organizations and development partners will discuss and evaluate whether “Ghana is on track and set the right priorities in financial capability and consumer protection”.
Additionally, innovative topics such as “Integrating Financial Capability into High Schools” and “Promoting Financial Capability through Mass Media” will be addressed.
Source: GNA;

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mobile Phone Money Transfer: Consumer Education is of Paramount Importance.

Tanzania has seen remarkable gains on mobile phone service uses; there had been rapid uptake of various services key among them the mobile phone based solution for money transfer.

Mobile phone banking is mainly used for money transfer and information sharing, this system frees up consumer from traditional banking system, mobile phone money transfer needs customer to register with service provider once, set up user ID/password hence allowing a customer send, receive money, and pay bills while on-the-move and anywhere in Tanzania anytime s/he pleases.

Mobile money banking started with the creation of services by the banks which could enable bank account holder to access certain information through his/her mobile phone. These facilities aimed to enable customers to access information relating to their accounts or transfer money.

According to Financial Sector Deepening Trust for Tanzania (FSDT), the most recent data available indicates that less than 10% of adult Tanzanians reported having access to a formal banking such as having a bank account; this leaves a percentage of more than 90% outside the bracket out of reach for mainstream banking such as conventional tellers or ATM networks of banks.

So to say mobile phone money transfer such as NBC mobile service, Zap for Zain and M-Pesa for Vodacom are essential opportunities for consumers to narrow down the gaps left by traditional banking systems. This service already reaches unbanked persons in rural and urban areas in Tanzania, most agents happen to be air time distributors or retail outlets for handsets that manage cash transactions during money transfer.

Availability of multiple outlets across the country implies more points of contact with customers as opposed to the traditional banking hall set up. Additionally, the flexible operating hours of the mobile phone agents leaves them with greater opportunities to satisfy banking requirements that may arise at any time. On the contrary banks operate for an average of eight hours per day. The supplementary Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) do not have a sufficient outreach since they are only available in major towns.

While the fees charged for transactions are largely below those levied by traditional banks for similar services, low incomes amongst the vast proportions of the population tends to reduce the levels of affordability, I presume that prices are expected to decline over time as competition intensifies.

Observably population categories with lower levels of education happen to be the larger user category. The capacity for unschooled and semi illiterate persons to quickly capture the skills of manipulating the considerably sophisticated mobile phone menu items is still questionable.

Though not seriously impaired, the capacity of a wider population of Tanzania users is fairly curtailed by not being fully conversant with all that they can accomplish through the mobile. Deliberate interventions must be undertaken to successfully ensure that the targeted persons particularly the rural residents and females are empowered not only with technology but with skills and finance as well.

To prevent these communities from lagging behind they must be familiarized with the benefits and opportunities of mobile banking. Calculated strategies to overcome hindrances require exploration so that these groupings can be converted into meaningful participants who will utilize this technology for economic take off. Mobile phone money transfer signifies is the fact that M-banking has created a formidable avenue for income redistribution.

Other challenge is, rural areas are faced with numerous challenges including how to manage the float (Cash) in light of prospected demand. Operators have tended to focus mainly on the densely populated economic zones; more so increase in local and international money transfers services with maximum consumer protection; against risks of fraud, loss of privacy and even loss of service is extremely critical for growth of m-banking.

The fair and transparent treatment of customers is not always ensured and the lack of financial capability is still being exploited negatively. The providers of financial services need to understand that they stand to gain themselves from an informed customer decision.

This sort of service revolution should led to make finance work for Tanzania, we should ask ourselves ‘’did we set the right priorities in financial literacy and consumer protection?’’ “What do we need to do (better) right now to make finance work for Tanzania and Africa as a whole?”, things such as to empower people to be capable of managing their financial assets and liabilities by better understanding their rights and responsibilities.

In order to protect consumers it is inevitably not to do; awareness creation and social marketing to behavioral change, increasing consumers’ financial capability which aims at empowering consumer. The government thorough sectoral regulatory authorities (in this case Bank of Tanzania and Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority) also have a role to play in protecting consumers by ensuring that financial institutions, business firms, fund raiser through mobile phone and mobile phone service providers; provide regular reliable information and apply recognized standards and suitable codes of conducts.

We need to develop a national strategy on consumer education and financial capability. These strategies aim, among other things, at including financial capability into schools, to educate the public on financial capability and to design training programmes for financial service providers.

We need to prepare a clear money transfer laws to clarify the responsibility of service provider in order to strengthen consumer protection in Tanzania as well as establishing appropriate safety net procedures which immediately provide remedies if consumer involved into controversial deal. Failing to plan today is planning to fail in future, it is now or never.

We are making a special request to strengthen collaboration among relevant organizations through establishment of a liaison committee on a regular and on-going basis consisting of banks, service provider, regulatory authorities, consumer groups, lawyers, Tanzania private Sector Foundation, Tanzania National Business Council, Confederation of Tanzania Industries, Tanzania Chamber of Commerce and others to join us to prepare joint operations for consumer protection.

Only when there is knowledgeable consumer in place and thereby strengthening institutions and building capacity for sound decision making, proper progress can be made in the other areas of democratic governance, including agriculture, economic and social development, welfare, and many others.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fight Against Fake Products on Track

The Guardian Editorial; 26th.Aug.2009

FINNALY East African Community (EAC) countries have unanimously decided fight the growing menace of counterfeit products as one regional entity. We join the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) in hailing the move as we believe it will help bring the dirty business to a halt.

It is globally acknowledged that while a free and open marketplace is fundamental to improve competitiveness, increasing investment, generating jobs and improving the economies of any region illicit trade, especially counterfeit had been undermining each of these goals in the East
African region and has been a growing menace in the region market.

Counterfeit and other form of illicit trade are mainly facilitated weak border controls (especially contributing to smuggling); inadequate sanctions (which are sufficient as deterrent because the balance of risk and reward is not weighted more against the offenders); and corruption, which weakens enforcement of existing regulations and undermines any controls put in place.

Another facilitators is consumer behavior as in many markets, consumers are aware (from appearance, price and place of sale) that they are purchasing smuggled or counterfeit goods, but are happy to buy, because of the lower price.

In Tanzania alone, authoritative research shows that counterfeit constitute about 38 per cent of all the imported products. This grossly affects not only the consumer but also the government.
The move by the EAC countries to jointly criminalize counterfeits deserves support because studies have shown that the business of importing fake products is complicated by the fact that it is supported and perpetrated by a sophisticated network of people who know how to evade law enforcement organs.

We are informed that the EAC is in the final stages of drafting the crucial legislation which is expected to be tabled at the November East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) session before being passed into law and ratified by the parliaments of the respective five EAC member states.

While we look forward to the swift passage of the all important legislation, we would like to call on member states to prepare and implement a mass sensitization campaign that would enable people of the region to actively participate in fighting against the menace. Without people’s support, the fight against this growing problem is bound to hit a hard rock, the good intentions of the legislation notwithstanding.

Partner states should also put in place measures to combat illicit trade including reducing the economic incentives to engage in the trade strengthen controls at the border points; enforce existing national and regional laws; introduce punitive measures against the culprits, including seizing and destroying illicit goods and machinery.

It is also crucial that the regional seek the active support of countries which are notorious for being major sources of counterfeit imports.

Here we have in mind countries like the People Republic of China, widely known for being a friend and supporter of third world countries, including Tanzania in their development aspirations. If China is to be seen as a true friend in the real sense, it should crusade its businesspersons who are the main source of counterfeit. Together we can fight this menace and win.

Consumers’ society hails EAC for criminalizing counterfeit imports

The Guardian; Tuesday; 25th.Aug.2009
By Correspondent; Felix Andrew

Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) has hailed the recent decision by the East African Community to criminalizing the importation of counterfeits saying the move would bring the dirt business to a halt.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam at the weekend, the society’s executive director, Bernard Kihiyo, said the decision taken by EAC would help to reduce the ever increasing importation of fake products to the region.

He said counterfeit goods would stop flowing into any of the member states only after the EAC governments destroyed the well-knit syndicate behind the importation, distribution and the sale of sub-standard goods. Authoritative research shows that counterfeit constitutes about 38 percent of all products imported into the country, adding that fake products adversely affect both consumers and the government.

He urged the EAC to take stem measures against culprits importing counterfeits into the region. According to Kihiyo, controlling the importation of counterfeit goods was not an easy task ‘’because most importers are Tanzanians who deliberately order cheap products from outside the country so as to reap a windfall upon selling them.

He warned that the business of importing fake products was further complicated by the fact that it was supported and perpetrated by a sophisticated network of people who know how to evade law-enforcement organs’’.

‘’It is a strong network that only the combined force of all relevant government organs can beat’’ he noted, adding that some members of Tanzania business community had made it a culture of import counterfeits to their country.

Kihiyo said domestic markets were flooded with low quality products including edible oil and spare parts. Apart from foodstuffs, there are several imported products that are below standards, thereby threatening the lives and health of consumers, he said.

Speaking to members of the press last week, the EAC General Secretary Ambassador Juma Mwapachu said the community is in the final stage of enacting a legislation to criminalize importation of counterfeit goods in all the five partner states.
The legislation is expected to be ready before November’s East African legislative assembly (EALA) whereby it will be discussed before being passed into law and ratified by respective national parliaments.

He said the counterfeit are targeting East African markets where law enforcement on imports is not strict and resources to do so are scarce. The counterfeit legislation will help harmonize laws in the EAC partner states and impose much stricter penalties including confiscation of the goods and imprisonment for their importers. The legislation is being drafted with the assistance of Investment Climate for Africa (ICA).

He warned that if unchecked, counterfeit will negatively impact on the region’s economy and concerted efforts for economic growth will roll backwards. He further said that apart from costing government in terms of revenue loss, the counterfeits will kill local and emerging regional industries, which are crucial to the regional economic sustainability competitiveness and job creation.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Education on financial savings importance


The Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) is a non governmental, independent consumer’s organisation, which has been established with interest to promote, protect, disseminate, and advocate for consumers’ right in Tanzania. Our reporter, Erick Toroka had an interview with the Executive Director for TCAS, Bernard Kihiyo, on the importance of education on financial savings.

Kihiyo says TCAS would like to be a Bank of Tanzania (BoT) advocacy implementing partner, on supplementing BoT’s honourable efforts in controlling and regulating banking industry and financial institutions in Tanzania to have sound financial management and financial accountability.

It has been habitual for most of the banks and financial institutions in Tanzania to favour big business on capital investment and ignore the poor (low-income consumers) due to their lack of security; however with the government project like MKURABITA this is not going to be an obstacle any more.

In recent years a number of good achievements happened in financial market in Tanzania; one being an abrupt increase in the number of Banks, SACCOS, and other financial lending institutions in Tanzania.

As the world is in the era of globalised economy, banking and financial customers all over the world (including Tanzania) are forced to be competent with; e-banking, e-business, e-commerce, international banking; which associate with the high degree of fraudsters and money laundry.

And it has been revealed that more than 80 per cent of consumers (including those of banking and financial services) in Tanzania suffer from lack of understanding of their consumers rights. They remain unaware, vulnerable, with no ability to fight or claim for their rights.

It is against this background whereby his organisation’s management feels that it is equally important to establish viable campaigns on raising customers awareness on several banking and financial issue under the partnership between BoT and TCAS.

“This campaign will provide information and capacity-building support to the customers to realize their potential and actively take part in country economy development in this foreseeable expanding financial market in Tanzania,” he states.

For instance, Ally Goronya says, there is a need for fraud prevention campaigns; we think personal customer safety is of paramount importance; the campaign should revolve around importance of chip and pin on fighting credit or debit card fraud, advocate for several different ways of reducing fraud and risk of identity theft.

there must be an intensive advocacy to money lenders on their rights and obligation that aim to raise borrower’s awareness on the true rate of interest being charged, loan’s terms and conditions, default, borrower’s right to restate, foreclosure procedures; arming preventing customers from being unfairly penalized or exploited unknowingly.

The campaign should also involve lobbying and advocacy on introduction of common money-lenders payment protection scheme; TCAS would like to work hand in hand with BoT, and the government on having fair insurance cover scheme that meet the demands and needs of those customers who wish to ensure that their payment protection needs are met.

The TCAS boss also notes that the scheme should cover any failure of moneylender to service his/her loan due to unforeseeable accident or sickness, involuntary unemployment, loss of business, hospitalization, death and general calamities like war, riot, commotion or other similar events.

Other unforeseeable like; case of theft-fraud, money laundering, loss acquired through misuse of e-banking card by someone else without holders permission should also be considered on the cover.

“We think the campaign should also advocate for responsible lending practices, issues such as minimum payment while serving a loan; frequent sharing of information on loan servicing, banks interest rates, default charges and insist on the banks/financial institution to have court order during enforcement on a customer who bleached a contact,” he says.

Other rights and obligation to be emphasized during the campaign are; what if someone is getting unsatisfactory services from the banks which lead to failure on paying the loan and interest in time – can the borrower sue the banker? Customer’s right to cancel loan agreements, complaint procedures, Rights to take legal proceeding, confidentiality on customer’s information.

Overall objectives of this proposed; TCAS/BoT Advocacy campaign are;- To raise customers’ awareness on banking and financial rights, increase customers familiarity with banking and financial services, inform customers about specific feature of a financial services, indicate distinctive features and/or benefit of a service, establish credibility of financial product or services, and Encourage potential customers to use such service.

Others are; to maintain loyalty of existing customers, Expand the reach of financial market, Overall enhancement of investment climate; with required necessary financial support and schemes, Catalyze effective competition in financial market, Raise customers’ financial discipline.

there is no way one can talk of citizens economic empowerment in this globalised economy without having plans in place on raising consumers’ awareness on their consumers rights, and consumers awareness is the back born of country’s sustainable economic growth.

“Let us work together to achieve the fundamental trust of the government in power to bring the benefits of banking and financial institutions to the poor people”, Kihiyo concludes.

Tanzania crippled by corporate social Irresponsibility – Study

Business Times; Friday, 7-13 Dec, 2007
By Eric Toroka
A Consumer survey conducted by the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) has levered that the lever of consumer awareness in Tanzania is “very low” – particularly on consumer’s rights, perception and attitudes with respect to businesses accountability and responsiveness to consumer needs and interests in Tanzania.

The survey was conducted in five regions of Tanzania mainland – namely Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Coast and Mwanza – between February 1 and 27, 2007.

Speaking to Business Times in Dar es Salaam recently, Daimon Mwakyembe, and its executive director, Bernard Kihiyo, said the survey revealed that “there is very low Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Tanzania”.

Mwakyembe defined Corporate Social Responsibility as the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically responsive and accountable to consumers’ needs and interests. This concept generally entails about how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society.

The survey revealed that there is poor public transportation system characterised by: congestion and delays; uncomfortable travelling conditions; poor vehicle condition; poor customer services; increased road accidents. Mwakyembe explained.

Moreover, it found out that there had been wrong overestimated, inflated bills from electricity and water utility bodies. The two are giving unreliable services characterized by frequent services characterized by frequent service breakdowns in most case without a notice. These include unregulated electric frequency; un- guaranteed water supply, poor quality of water which leads to the spread of water born diseases like typhoid and cholera.

The presences of counterfeit goods with are not durable, poor in quality, unsafe, false labelling and changing of expiry dates on products – food, cosmetics and medicine are also on the raise. It is believe that 40 per cent of the products in Tanzania markets are counterfeits, Mwakyembe added. Bernard Kihiyo added other forms of unethical business conducts seemed to look new while in reality they were not, giving the example of mobile phone on sale in most of the shop in Tanzania.

The survey revealed that in same cases human and animal drugs dispenses and managed by unprofessional personnel were very dangerous to the health of consumers.

Moreover, the study revealed that there were unjustifiable excessive high prices of goods and services in Tanzania market. For instance, early this year consumers experienced a sudden hike in the prices of petrol and petroleum products. It appears that dealers in oil are forming a cartel to fix prices in order to exploit consumers.

Mwakyembe clarified that the worst scenario of the survey can be viewed on the following; - Health Care with the concept of CSR; 1829 respondents have seen complex medical cases of alleged negligence by the way of consultation, diagnosis and treatment (cross infection), both medicinal and surgical that led to severe suffering of service recipient like the recent MOI theatre scandal and in some instance death occurred. The most difficulty question is how far medical/pharmaceutical practitioners be held responsible for their professional negligence?

Transport and transportation with the concept of CSR; 1279 respondents complained of the sharp increase in road accidents. Last year alone more than 2838 people lost their lives due to road accidents, leaving 155,000 others with permanent disabilities and without forgetting those who lost their properties.
In most cases accidents are caused by drivers’ negligence including operating with un-serviced cars, operating without having proper insurances to cover customers and their properties. The most difficulty question is how far should transport operators be held responsible for professional negligence? Mwakyembe queried, showing his shock

Media have important role to play, says Mengi

Business Times; Friday 25-31Jan, 2008
By Allen Mushatsi

The executive chairman of IPP Ltd and chairman of media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT), Reginald Mengi, has said that media have an important role to play in empowering citizens. His remark came on Monday this week when addressing journalists during the opening of a regional training course organized by the commonwealth press union (CPU).

The chairman said that by covering issue and activities of public interest, journalists can help create awareness among the people regarding what is taking place in society. The other thing, he said that the media was capable of sensitizing the public through analytical journalism, involving a critical approach to issue taking place in society.

Mengi went further, saying the media can empower society by setting the right agenda aimed at enlightening the public. “Indeed, the media potential to empower citizens is there. The challenge of how to make use if such potential is on the shoulders of journalists”, he stressed.

Making a point on a training course named ‘Empowering citizens through reader-friendly newspaper;’ he said trainees would brainstorm on a number of topical issues in society, apart from improving their writing skills.

“An enlightened or empowered citizen knows his/her rights and will thus strive to liberate himself/herself socially and economically. Empowered citizens are not likely to tolerate bad governance in society reflected in lack of freedom of movement and expression, or corruption, the worst forms of which are seen in plundering national resources…realize the power of their vote during election times and use it to bring peaceful and morally acceptable leadership changes,” Mengi explained.

The training course has brought together journalists from Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique and the host country. Tanzania for the whole of this week, they covered on some strategies the media can use in order to interact with and empower citizens. Together with other speakers, Rob jamieson acted as a training course consultant

Matatani kwa kuuza Coca-Cola Fanta feki

Nipashe; 9 Novemba , 2007

Na Aisha Hamza, PST, Arusha

Mkazi wa Majengo mjini Arusha John Mwasapi (40) aliuza bidhaa Coco cola na Fanta ambazo ni bandia kwa kutumia nembo ya kiwanda cha Bonite Bottlers cha mjini Moshi, Mahakama ya Hakimu Mkazi Arusha imeambiwa.

Akisoma shitako hilo, Mwendesha Mashitaka, Zuberi Mkakatu, alidai mbele ya Hakimu Mkama Abdallah kuwa Mwasapi alitenda kosa hilo Oktoba 20 mwaka huu, huko Mbauda.

Alizidi kudai kuwa mshitakiwa alifika katika duka la Bw. Mtega Shayo na kumuuzia mkewe kreti mbili za soda kwa bei ya Sh 5,000 kwa kreti badala ya bei ya kiwandani ya Sh 6,100 akidai kuwa alipewa na kaka yake ambaye ni mwanajeshi.

Mtuhumiwa alipoondoka mwanamke huyo aliweka vinywaji hivyo kwenye jokofu na badala ya muda mteja aliyetaka Coco cola, alikuja dukani na kupatiwa kinywaji hicho.

Alidai baada ya kunywa mteja alihisi harufu isiyompendeza inayofanana na ya ndizi na kuirudisha soda hiyo, hivyo muuzaji huyo akalazimika kumfungulia mteja huyo soda nyingine ambayo nayo ilitoa gesi kasha ikamwagika yote na mteja kubakiwa na chupa tupu.

Baada ya tukio hilo mwanamke huyo alimpigia simu mumewe na kuumweleza juu ya kuuziwa chafu lakini Bw. Shayo akamshauri kuwa anunue soda nyingine kutoka kwa Mwasapi ili iwe rahisi kumnasa.

Mwendesha Mashitaka alisema siku mbili baadaye, alirudi kuuliza kama wangehitaji soda na akaagizwa alete kreti mbili na alipozileta alikamatwa kwa kushirikiana na wananchi ambao walianza walianza kumshushia kipigo.

Mwasapi alifikishwa katika kituo kidogo cha polisi Chemchemu Mbauda na kuhojiwa kisha alipekuliwa nyumbani kwake na kukutwa na kreti tupu nyingi za soda za kampuni ya Bonite.

Pia polisi walimkamata na paketi nyingi za juisi aina ya Drink O-pop pamoja na Coke ambazo alikuwa akizitumia kutengeneza kinywaji hivyo n akuweka katika chupa hizo na kusambaza sehemu mbalimbali jijini Arusha.

Mshitakiwa alikana shitaka na kurudishwa rumande baada ya kukosa wadhamini. Kesi yake imehairishwa hadi Novemba 20.

Akizungumzia tukio hilo, mkuu wa usalama wa kituo kiwanda cha Bonite Bottlers, Bw Kundaeli Kuyata alisema, alipigiwa simu na polisi ili kwenda kukagua jinsi mtuhumiwa huyo alivyokuwa akitengeneza soda.

Alisema aligundua kuwa alikuwa anaweka unga wa juisi za Coke na Fanta kutengeneza vinywaji na unga huo ulikuwa umebaki chini ya chupa.

“Huwezi kugundua haraka ujanja wake kama si mchuuzi ndiyo maanaalikuwa anawatapeli wateja wengi. Ule unga hata ukichanganywa vipi lazima kuna chengachenga zinabaki chini ya chupa alifahamisha.

Alienda kueleza kuwa alichofanya mtuhumiwa Mwasapi ni kosa kubwa kwani alitumia nembo ya biashara ya kampuni hiyo badala ya kubuni ya kwake mwenyewe.

JK slams Sumatra for failure to check marine accidents

The Guardian: Friday, June 5, 2009
By Joyce Kisaka
President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday slammed the Surface and Marine transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) for its failure to prevent marine accident.

He sounded the blame in Dar es Salaam at the official inauguration of new ‘Mv Magogoni’ ferry, which has the capacity of carrying 50,000 passengers a day together with 1,000-2,500 cars. The cost of the pontoon is 8.6bn/-

President Kikwete said last year, 28 accidents occurred whereby 49 people died, while 240 were rescued, adding that analysis showed that carrying large numbers of passengers than authorised, cargo, poor sea vessel maintenance, weather and failure to do regular inspections were the main causes of accidents.

“Sumatra should do regular inspections, failure to do so will cause more disasters, he insisted.

Speaking on the issue of the ferry, he said despite the government efforts to have more ferries, construction of Kigamboni Bridge was in pipeline. The president said the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) which is undertaking the project was in the tendering process.

The president mentioned other ferries as ‘MV Kigamboni’ expected to start in September.

Speaking about the new ferry, President Kikwete said he was happy with the achievements made in facilitating sea transport, because the vessel was Tanzania made.

About 30 people got employment and ferry building technology during its construction, and would not continue to work on other ferries like ‘MV Kigamboni’ he said.

President Kikwete however, denied allegations that Kigamboni area had been sold to business in the US and the Arab world, saying all was mere fabrication.

“There is nothing like selling this area, but what I know is that Ilala Municipality will collaboration with the Ministry for Lands and Human Settlements to survey the area,” he said.

Earlier, infrastructure Development permanent secretary Engineer Omary Chambo said the government signed a contract with a Germany company for construction of the ferry in November 2006 at the cost 8.6bn/-

He said Sumatra will do regular inspection in order to maintain the standard of the ferry and avoid accidents.

He said the government will continue with construction of ferries all over the country as it now has money from the World Bank.

TBS calls on other govt agencies to educate public on their functions.

The Guardian: Friday 19, June 2009
By Correspondent; Gadiosa Lamtey

The Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS) has called on each government agency dealing with control and management of good to educate the public on its functions.

The call was made on Wednesday by TBS Head Marketing Unit Daudi Mbaga at the on-going Africa Public Services Week being held at the Mnazi mmoja ground in Dar es Salaam.

He was responding to questions from the public that several government agencies were duplicating duties.

“People are confusing between TBS duties with those done by other government agencies such as the Fair Competition Commission and Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority, but we are operating different constitutional establishments,” he said.

Mbaga called on people to view all agencies as important because all were created as per respective laws and have the force of law to operate.

“The public should not misunderstand our roles. We all target to reach at one specific point and that is quality of goods for the consumer and for the betterment of the nation,” he said.

He said there had been several questions from the public in regard to counterfeit products as many people think that it is only TBS which deals with the issue.

Mbaga called on the public to use the week as a way of learning different issues that have been perturbing them regarding the functionality of government agencies.

Meanwhile Fair Competition Commission Head of Consumer Complaints and Education Department Martha Kisyombe said that counterfeit products worth 1.6bn/- had been destroyed since the commission was established in 2007.

She said FCC would continue to destroy fake products whenever they are found.

She called on the public to report once they suspect that a certain product is fake.

Kisyombe added that FCC was aimed at reducing counterfeit products to ensure that all imported goods meet required quality and standards.

The Africa Public Services Week which started on Monday this week involves more than 160 government institutions and other institutions from some other African countries.

The decision to have public service day was reached by the ministers of Africa responsible for public service who met in Windhoek Namibia in 2000.

The African public day is celebrated at the continental level in one of the African countries once every two years.

Over 200 companies to mark CSR Day on May 22

The Guardian; Thursday 7, May 2009
By Immaculate Njalangi

The corporate sector in Tanzania will, for the first time, mark Corporate Social Responsibility Day (CSR) on Monday 22, this year.

Briefing journalists in Dar es Salaam, events coordinator Elly Kimbwereza, urged firms and institution which considered CSR as good business practise not to reduce workforce but rather sacrifice profit margins.

Kimbwereza said that Tanzania faced a number of challenges, among them being unemployment compounded by the ongoing world economic crisis.

He said most companies, when faced with the problems they rushed to reduce the workforce, while CSR emphasised that they should consider reducing profits and maintain staffs.

Kimbwereza said that since 80 per cent of the country’s population depended on agriculture, more CSR activities would be directed on it.

He however added that the CSR day will gather high level delegation from various firms and organisations active in CSR activities.

“CSR requires a commitment to social development principles that provide several advantages to communities to help them avoid negative economic, social and environment impacts,” said Kimbwereza.

He clarified that the day would also champion for corporate citizens to become a sustainable model of excellence in offering corporate social responsibility to communities found in the vicinity of their working stations.

The coordinator of the event, Anthony John, said that more than 200 firms are expected to take part in marking the day.

He said CSR goes beyond donations to projects, development programmes and charities.

Budget 2009/10; more of burden to consumers, taxpayers


The budget as presented Finance Minister Mustafa Mkulo has been dismissed as burdensome as it takes more that what consumers can pay.

Responding on the 2009/10 Budget, the Executive Director for Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), Bernard Kihiyo, told Business Times yesterday that at the end of the day consumers would be the ones to foot for the budget.

He said customers would foot, government duties, fees, and taxes, either directly or indirectly. Dismissing the budget, he said it was asking the most vulnerable people in the society to tighten their belts so that to foot for government spending, which in one way or another was politically motivated.

“Regardless or how one views the specifics; government spending on development projects is focused on the quantity say number of schools, dispensaries, hospitals, and kilometres of roads under tarmac built but not on the quality and sustainability on every invested government funds onto those social development projects. It is evidently on the kind of primary, secondary schools, dispensaries, roads which had been built under other budgets” he said…

He said some politicians assume that spending comes from nothing and that any increase in government spending is good because it helps the people.

“There is cost it”, he said, adding it comes in the form of higher payroll taxes, government fees, higher commodity and services prices which cut into family budgets.

He called on the government to improve the tax base-streamlining the private sector to be an engine of the economy while focus on reduction of unnecessary spending.

For his part, opposition MP John Cheyo said the Government should empower a local bank to cater for farmers to moderise cotton farming which had been adversely affected by the global financial crunch. He said the budget was not fair to consumers of hard beverages.

Another MP Nafael Chegeni said he was happy about the budget as it shows how the nation will handle the global financial crisis. He said President Jakaya Kikwete had explained the foundations on how to handle the crisis.

CCM MP Christian Mzindakaya praised the budget for being agro oriented as that was what the majority populace was looking for.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ignorance drives people into pyramid schemes – Economists

By Perege Gumbo
The guardian; Saturday 16, may 2009

The emerging and re-emerging of pyramid schemes that have been collecting huge amount of money from common Tanzanians calls for intensification of public awareness campaign over the importance of investing in company shares currently being traded at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, economists have said.

A cross section of economists in Dar es Salaam said yesterday that lack of awareness over the importance of investing in shares at both primary and secondary markets had been driving people to join pyramid schemes, some of them with interest rates as high as 200 per cent.

Chief Executive Officer of Core Securities Limited George Fumbuka said what happened with the controversial Development Entrepreneurship Community Initiative (DECI) signified high liquidity within the community.

“The fact that for the short period that DECI has existed manage to spread all over the country acquiring more than 700,000 members who contributed more than 50bn/- should be taken as an eye opener for the government to embark on strategic awareness campaigns over the importance of investing in the shares,” he said.

About 11 years since the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange started business, the highest number of investors in the shares has been less that 30,000.

Fumbuka said players in share trading seemed to have excluded the common man by targeting higher and middle class people.

He has re-examination of the mode of awareness plans to the Tanzanians to enable them participate in their economy through buying company shares was needed to reverse the current trend particularly after revealing ordinary people had enough liquidity.

An officer with the Tanzania Securities Limited said the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange in collaboration with the Capital Markets and Securities Authority needed to embark on intensive awareness programmes.

The officer who sought anonymity said the awareness programmes would increase the level of understanding among Tanzanians on the role and importance of investing in company shares traded at the DSE and other products available at the market.

He said in essence brokers had no funds to undertake such awareness programmes which he termed as critically important for the people to make informed decisions before they invest in the shares and other stocks.

The officer said he believe if the people would be informed they would not risk their monies in pyramid scheme but would rather invest in share stocks.
The government closed DECI operating early this year accusing it of operating illegally by accepting deposits, role reserved for banking institutions only.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


By Bert Foer, President, the American Antitrust Institute; May 15, 2009

With the Obama Administration now at least partially in place, it is becoming possible to say some things - but not very specific because there have as yet been no cases - about how the new regime will affect antitrust.

During the campaign, candidate Obama released a statement to the American Antitrust Institute which was highly critical of the Bush Administration' s lack of activity outside of the cartel area.

The statement gives the impression that President Obama is personally on top of the antitrust laws and of an interventionist persuasion. Whether this is true or a result of good staff work is yet to be established. Rarely in US history has a President involved himself in antitrust issues.
President Obama has now made three relevant appointments apart from Professor Cass Sunstein. First, the new Attorney General is Eric Holder and Christine Varney for the key position of Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust. At the Federal Trade Commission, the President nominated a sitting Commissioner, Jon Leibowitz, to be Chairman.

However, activist the new Administration will turn out to be, it will have to deal with one key fact-on-the- ground: the US courts, as a generality, are now quite conservative and hostile to antitrust enforcement, a legacy of the Bush years.

They will not suddenly become more favourably disposed toward antitrust, although it is likely that the Department of Justice's advocacy positions before the courts will be more favourable.

Abstract from the fothcoming issue of ReguLetter, i.e. April-June 2009

To read more, please visit: http://www.cuts-

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mwakyembe: haikuwa rahisi kuipa chati TBS

Na Sarah Mossi
Rai; Alhamis 15-21, Mei 2008

§ Ni maabara ya kwanza Tanzania Kujulikana kimataifa
§ Hata baada ya kustaafu amebaki kuwa kama chapa yake
§ Ni mtaalamu wa viwango, na alivisimamia mwenyewe
§ Sasa aanzisha TCAS kutetea haki na sauti za walaji wote

Leo hii ukiyaangalia mafanikio ya Shirika la Viwango Tanzania (TBS), hukosi kumhusisha na maendeleo hayo aliyekuwa Mkurugenzi Mkuu, Daimon Mwakyembe, ambaye sasa amestaafu.

Mwakyembe (61) amestaafu lakini atabaki kuwa ni kielelezo kizuri cha mafanikio yaliyopatikana ndani ya shirika hili kongwe nchini, alisukuma vyema maabara, alijituma na kubuni mikakati mbalimbali kuhakikisha TBS inakuja juu.

Huyu ni mmoja wa wale wazee waliotumikia taifa hili miaka mingi, tena kwa uaminifu, hii ni hazina ya taifa kwa maneno mengine. Ukiitaja TBS leo hii kwenye kundi la watu, wengine watakuuliza ni ile ya Mwakyembe? Wakimaanisha kwamba iliyokuwa inaongozwa na mwakyembe. Kumbe basi tunaweza kusema lwamba Mwakyembe ni sawa na chapa ya TBS.

Kutokana na umuhimu wake kwa Taifa hili, baada ya kustaafu mwaka 2006, Rai ilimtafuta Mwakyembe kwa mahojiano maalumu, hata hivyo aliomba aachwe kwa wakati huo apumzike. Mwakyembe alikataa kufanya mahojiano wakati huo kwa kigezo kuwa asije kuonekana ‘kimbelembele’au kwamba alikuwa anataka umaarufu. Bahati nzuri tulimuelewa.

Baada ya kipindi kirefu cha ukimya, Rai ilimtafuta tena mwakyembe na kumsihi akubali kufanya mahojiano, akakubali na Mei 7 mwaka huu alifanya hivyo kwa lengo la kuielezea jamii anafanya nini sasa baada ya kulitumikia Taifa miaka mingi kiasi hicho.

“Nilijiunga na TBS mwaka 1979, nikitokea TIPER ambapo nilifanya kazi kwa miaka saba, kule ndiko nilikojifunzia mambo ya viwango.”

Hii ndiyo kauli aliyoanza nayo Mwakyembe katika mahojiano yetu, akieleza namna alivyopata ujuzi wa kuelewa masuala ya viwango vya bidhaa. Anasema kwamba alipojiunga TBS, moja kwa moja akafanya kazi ndani ya maabara, akiwa na mtaalamu wa kuangalia viwango vya petrol na gesi mbalimbali, kama oksijeni, naitrojeni na kaboni dayoksaidi.

Mwakyembe anasema kwamba alifanya kazi hiyo kwa muda na baada ya kutangazwa nafasi za utawala, akapandishwa cheo na kuwa meneja viwango. Aidha anasema mwaka 1992 walistaafu wakurugenzi wengi ndani ya TBS, akiwamo aliyekuwa Mkurugenzi mkuu, Benedict Mwobahe, hapa ndipo alipokabidhiwa jukumu la kuliendesha shirika hilo.

“Unajua mimi nilitoka kiwandani, nilijua kusukuma maabara za TBS na viwango navielewa, kuna International Accreditation, hii nidyo najivunia, nimeandika viwango na kusimamia maabara mwenyewe, TBS ni maabara ya kwanza Tanzania kujulikana kimataifa na kupata sifa, hili nimesimamia mwenyewe.

“Kabla ilikuwa haijulikani kimataifa, lakini sasa viwango vya TBS vinajulikana kimataifa kama kwenye vyakula, bidhaa hata kwenye minofu ya samaki.

Anasema viwango vya TBS vilianza kujulikana kimataifa, Novemba 1996 na kusisitiza sheria za kimataifa za viwango zinasema ili maabara ijulikane kimataifa ni lazima watalamu wa kimataifa waangalie hali ya maabara, ujuzi wa wataalamu, kemikali zinazotumika, pamoja na vyombo vinavyotumika kama vinakubalika kimataifa.

“Sisi kwetu walikuja wataalmu kutoka South Africa National Accreditation System, waliangalia ujuzi wetu, wataalamu, hali ya maabara yetu, vyombo vianavyotumika na kemikali, wakaafiki na kutuma cheti cha kiamataifa,” anasema Mwakyembe.

Lakini anaongeza kwamba, kazi ya kulifikisha shirika hilo hapo lilipo na viwango vyake kujulikana kimataifa haikuwa rahisi kama wanavyodhani, hasa baada ya kukabidhiwa kuliongoza mwaka 1992.

Anasema alipewa kazi ya kuongoza shirika hilo huku likiwa likikabiliwa na ukapa mkubwa wa fedha za kujiendesha. Anasema serikali wakati huo ilikuwa haitoi fedha za kuendesha maabara.

Hata hivyo, anabainisha kwamba hakukata tama, hivyo alianza kubuni mikakati ya kutafuta fedha za kujiendesha, akafanikiwa kukopa Sh milioni 15 kutoka mfuko wa Taifa wa Hifadhi ya Jamii (NSSF).

Anasema kwamba fedha hizo zilitumika kujenga baadhi ya majengo ya utawala, lakini kutokana na uhaba wa fedha wakashindwa kurejesha mkopo huo na NSSF wakakamata gari na vifaa vyote vya shirika.

Kwa mujibu wa Mwakyembe, tatizo lingine alilokumbana nalo alipoteuliwa kuwa Mkurugenzi mkuu ni kutokaguliwa ipasavyo hesabu za TBS. Anasema kipindi hicho ajira pia zilisimama.

Aidha, anasema kwamba kutokana n akuwa na uongozi wa pamoja ndani ya shirika hilo, waliweza kubuni mikakati ya kurejesha fedha hizo na kufanikiwa kulipa deni pamoja na kununua magari ya ofisi pamoja na vifaa vya ofisi.

“Miaka mitano ya mwanzo, mara baada ya kukabidhiwa shirika ilikuwa ni migumu kwangu lakini baada ya miaka 10 tutaweza kujikwamua na sasa wananchi wanajua 0.
umuhimu wa viwango, sasa maabara inatambuliwa kimataifa, TBS inatambuliwa na wananchi, hesabu za TBS zilikuwa hazikaguliwi ipasavyo, lakini baada ya miaka 10 hadi naondoka hesabu zinakwenda vizuri,”anasisistiza.

Mwakyembe anasema kwamba wakatai akiwa madarakani ya kuajiri na kutoa mafunzo kwa vijana wapya kwa kuamini kuwa wakati atakapostaafu bila shaka angefuatiwa na wengine ambao walitakiwa kustaafu kwa mujibu wa sheria na hiyo ingewapa wakati mgumu kutafuta watu wa kushika nafasi zao.

Mwanzoni tuliacha kuajiri, lakini nikaona mara nitakostaafu ningefuatiwa na wengine 10 waliotakiwa kustaafu, tukaanza kuajiri vijana ili tukiondoka wachukue nafasi zetu.

Mwakyembe anajivunia uongozi wa pamoja uliokuwapo ndani ya TBS, wakati akiwa mkurugenzi mkuu a hiyo anasema ilikuwa ni furaha yake kubwa.

“Sikumbuki kuchukua uamuzipekee bila kushirikisha mameneja au wafanyakazi, kama ni makosatulifanya wote, tulifanya kitu kwa uwazi na uongozi wa pamoja. Tumeweza kuboresha maslahi ya wafanyakazi, kuongeza marupurupu, tuliamini wafanyakazi wakilipwa vizuri wataweza kuepuka rushwa, najivunia mno kuboresha maslahi ya wafanyakazi,”anasema.

Mwakyembe pia anajivunia kurejesha uhusiano uliovunjika kati ya Jumuiya ya Wafanyakazi wa TBS na menejimenti, ambao ulizua migogoro ya mara kwa mara kwenye shirika.

“Nakumbuka wakati nachukua shirika mwaka 1992, kulikuwa na uhasama mkubwa kati ya wafanyakazi na menejimenti, nikayamaliza kwa pamoja na sasa uhusiano kati ya menejimenti na jumuiya yao umerudi.”

Mwakyembe anashukuru bodi ya Wakurugenzi ya TBS pamoja na aliyekuwa waziri wa viwanda na biashara wakati huo, Cleopa Msuya kwa kumuunga mkono wakati wote akiwa mkurugenzi mkuu na kusimama kidete kuhakikisha shirika linapata wafadhili mbalimbali kuweza kujiendesha, tofauti na miaka ya nyuma.

“Nazishukuru bodi tatu za mwisho zilitusapoti na kwa kutumia bodi hizi shirika sasa linakwenda vizuri, tukapata wafadhili, David Cleopa Msuya alipokuwa waziri wa Viwanda alitafuta wafadhili SIDA ambao wamejenga yale majengo, kupitia Bodi, serikali ilitusaidia. Lakini nawashukuru mawaziri wote baadae kwa ujumla walitusaidia,” anasisitiza.

Wahenga walisema ujuzi hauzeeki, msemo huo Mwakyembe anautumia ipasavyo na anasema kuwa bado anaendeleza taaluma yake na hayupo mbali na alichokuwa akifanya TBS. Anasema mwanadamu anaweza kuzeeka lakini ujuzi hauzeeki na sasa ameamua kuanzisha Sharika binafsi la kujitolea litakalokuwa na jukumu la kumlinda mlaji (mtumiaji wa bidhaa nchini). Analitaja shirika lenyewe kwamba litajulikana kama Shirika la kutetea Haki za Mlaji Tanzania (TCAS).

Anafafanua kwa kusema kuwa katika utengenezaji bidhaa, kunahitajika mambo matatu ambayo ni mzalishaji, viwango na mlaji.

Anasema katika nchi zilizoendelea kama Marekani, Uingereza, mlaji au mtumiaji wa bidhaa ana sauti katika viwango na kupima. Anasema kwa Tanzania mambo ni kinyume kwa mtengenezaji kuwa na sauti dhidi ya mlaji.

Anaongeza kwamba hali hiyo imemsukuma kuanzisha shirika hilo litakalokuwa na jukumu la kutetea haki za mlaji pamoja na kuyafanya matakwa yake kufanyiwa kazi na watengenezaji bidhaa.

“Hapa kwetu mlaji anamtegemea TBS tu, hajui haki zake na hii tunataka Tanzania mlaji ajue haki zake, nimeanzisha shirika hili mwaka jana, nipo na wenzangu, ndio kwanza tunatafuta wafadhili,”anasema.

Hakuna ubishi kwamba kazi nyingi za TBS kabla zilikuwa hazijulikani na ilifikia wakati wananchi wakawa na maswali mengi yasiyo na majibu juu ya utendaji wa kazi wa shirika hilo.

Mwakyembe katika hilo anakiri na kusema hali hiyo ilitokana na shughuli nyingi za shirika kufanywa kimya kimya na pengine kinyemela zaidi. Anasema mara baada ya kukabidhiwa shirika alipata kuhudhuria moja ya kozi zilizoendeshwa na Taasisi ya Menejimenti ya Ireland, katika programu ya maofisa wakuu wa mashirika kwa ajili ya kuwezesha kuendesha mashirika yao.

“Ilikuwa nzuri, katika programu moja ya marketing (masoko) Mwalimu akasema lazima kila siku ufanye ubunifu, uunde na usherehekee, sasa nikasema kumbe ni lazima usherehekee. Hivi vyeti vya ubora wa bidhaa tulikuwa tunatoa kinyemela, niliporudi nikasema, kumbe lazima hivi vyeti tuvitoe kwenye sherehe na watu wakutusaidia ni media (vyombo vya habari).

“Nikasema bila Media huwezi ku celebrate na wananchi wakakusikia, nikasema Media wakijua watatutangaza nchi nzima tena bila malipo, ulikuwa ni umbumbumbu wetu, lakini training ilini alert. Baad aya hapo tukaweza kwenda juu kutokana na msaada wa Media, hawa wamenisaidia sana kufanya TBS ijulikane na wananchi kuelewa umuhimu wa shirika hili kwao,” anabainisha.

Tofauti na wataalamu wengine mara wanapostaafu au hata kabla ya kufikia muda wa kustaafu hujitumbukiza kwenye siasa kwa ajili ya kutafuta umaarufu zaidi na kuacha fani zao, lakini si hivyo kwa Mwakyembe ambaye alipoulizwa iwapo ataingia kwenye siasa kwa kuwa sasa amestaafu TBS, ilimchukua nusu sekunde tu kujibu, akisema, “Hapana si yupo bwana mdogo,” anajibu bila kumtaja, lakini Mwakyembe aliyepo kwenye siasa juu kwa sasa ni Mbunge wa Kyela, Dk. Harison Mwakyembe mwenye undugu na mkurugenzi huyu mstaafu.

Mwakyembe anatoa mwito kwa uongozi wa TBS kuhakikisha hali ya kifedha inakuwa nzuri na wananchi wanaelimishwa juu ya umuhimu wa viwango katika bidhaa wanazotumia.

“Zipo bidhaa nyingi ukimuuliza mlaji atakwambia anataka nini, kwenye kutengeneza bidhaa tumuulize mlaji anataka nini, kama kukiwa na uelewa mzuri wa mlaji, bidhaa feki zisingekuwepo,” asisistiza Mwakyembe.

‘Syndicate behind fake imports’

By Patrick Kisembo
The Guardian; Monday 8, October 2007

Counterfeit goods will stop flooring the country only after the government destroys the well-knit syndicate behind their importation, distribution and sale, highly regarded Tanzanian business consultant Nikubuka Shimwela has warned.

Shimwela, once an expert with the National Institute of productivity in Dar es Salaam and now CEO and lead con-suitant with Kasuto Company Ltd Economic and Business Consultants, issued the warming at a workshop on Consultation of Church Leaders on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) held in the city at the weekend.

He said authoritative research shows that counterfeit constitute about 38 per cent of all the products imported into the country, adding that fake products adversely affect both consumers and the government when it comes to destroying them.

“It is very expensive destroying counterfeit products, as clearly seen from the consignment of fake Kiwi shoe polish recently destroyed at Wazo Hill in Dar es Salaam because one has to pay the destruction teams heavily,” he stated.

According to the consultant, it is no easy task controlling the importation of counterfeit goods “because most importers are Tanzanians who deliberately order cheap products from outside so as to reap a windfall upon selling them in the local market”.

“It is not easy to control these products because we local businesspersons form the bulk of the people who import the goods in order to get super profits,” he said.

Shimwela, a member of the Tanzania Ecumenical Dialogue Group (TEDG) warmed that raining in people fond of importing fake products was further complicated by the fact that the whole business is supported and perpetrated by a sophisticated network of people who know how to evade law-enforcement agents.

“It is a very strong network that only the combined strength and force of all relevant government organs can beat,” he noted, adding that many members of the Tanzanian business community had made it a culture to import counterfeit goods.

“It is a very serious problem because they are the same ones who have created a virtual national culture of loving foreign things even if they are if poor quality,” he said.

Participants of the workshop had earlier wanted to know what the authorities overseeing the quality of imports and goods made locally were doing when the country was fast turning into a dumping site for fake goods, mostly foreign junk.

Grace Masalakulangwa of the African Evangelistic Enterprise questioned the government’s capacity to check the importation of counterfeits, regardless of the fact that the country is in a liberal market situation.

She said it was sad for local supermarkets to be fully stocked with foreign products.

“I once saw a heavy duty truck with a container full of substandard light bulbs. When I asked the owner about the origin of the products, he said he had paid all the relevant taxes and duties for their importation,” she explained.

A visibly upset Masalakulangwa said the owner of the container told people who had surrounded the truck of contact the Tanzania Revenue Authority commissioner general it their cared to so as confirm if the container had not gone through all the clearance stages.

“But all the contents in the container were fake and people knew that before it went through the ‘proper’ government channels,” she said.

She challenged government and other authorities “not to gamble with people’s lives by accepting bribers from a few unscrupulous and greedy elements.”

Another participant, Prof Francis Matambalya, named the Tanzania Bureau of Standards as the authority officially charged with ensuring conformity to certified standard and added that the academic world to which he belonged was there merely to educate and sensitise people on such matters.

Problems associated with controlling counterfeit products do not have to do only with the absence of presence or proper mechanisms but also with the manner in which the relevant state organs deals with corruption, he argued.

Chipping in to clarify on some issues after the debate had especially heated, Shimwela said the Government enacted the Fair Competition Act in 2004 and later set up the Fair Competition Commission to deal with counterfeits.

“But as you may be aware, the competition is practically toothless. It only has powers to conduct inspections in godowns and other retail outlets to impound counterfeit products,” he observed, adding that the government is reviewing the law governing FCC to give it legal teeth that bite.

Last month police and FCC personnel impounded large consignments of imitation goods in Dar es Salaam, including Hitachi television sets and Kiwi shoe polish, which sources said were imported from China.

Recently, FCC said half of all consignment of Chinese made goods sold in Dar es Salaam markets are fakes. However, China struck back shortly later, denying the charges and instead heaping the blame on dishonest traders using the Far Eastern country as a transit route for their exports to Tanzania.

Over 200 companies to mark CSR Day on May 22

By Immaculate Njalangi
The Guardian; Thursday 7, May 2009

The corporate sector in Tanzania will, for the first time, mark Corporate Social Responsibility Day (CSR) on Monday 22, this year. Briefing journalists in Dar es Salaam, events coordinator Elly Kimbwereza, urged firms and institution which considered CSR as good business practise not to reduce workforce but rather sacrifice profit margins.

Kimbwereza said that Tanzania faced a number of challenges, among them being unemployment compounded by the ongoing world economic crisis. He said most companies, when faced with the problems they rushed to reduce the workforce, while CSR emphasised that they should consider reducing profits and maintain staffs.

Kimbwereza said that since 80 per cent of the country’s population depended on agriculture, more CSR activities would be directed on it. He however added that the CSR day will gather high level delegation from various firms and organisations active in CSR activities.

“CSR requires a commitment to social development principles that provide several advantages to communities to help them avoid negative economic, social and environment impacts,” said Kimbwereza.

He clarified that the day would also champion for corporate citizens to become a sustainable model of excellence in offering corporate social responsibility to communities found in the vicinity of their working stations.

The coordinator of the event, Anthony John, said that more than 200 firms are expected to take part in marking the day. He said CSR goes beyond donations to projects, development programmes and charities.

Education key to sustainable future, says global consumer body

By Allen Mushatsi
Business Times; Friday 17 – 23, October 2008

Consumer organizations round the world have called on national governments to implement the UNEP Guidelines on Education for Sustainable Consumption in formal education. The message has been put forward by consumer international body which organized Consumer Action Day recently worldwide.

The Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) under its Executive Director Bernard Kihiyo, joined global consumer movement in call for education for sustainable consumption. The coordinate day of action has bee organized by the global consumer movement as a means of empowering consumer to make responsible decisions from a young age.

As outlined in UNEP’s here and now: Education for Sustainable Consumption, sustainable consumer choices are crucial to social development and environment protection. Sustainable consumption is also a key theme within the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

“This is why Consumers International member organizations around the world, including Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society, are calling on ministries of environment to endorse the UNEP Guidelines and asking ministries of education to incorporate the recommendations on sustainable consumption within the national curriculum”, said Kihiyo.

According to the organisers, the aim of the consumer action day is to draw attention to the importance of Education for Sustainable Consumption and the Guidelines. Moreover, it gives ministries the opportunity to publicly voice their support for the adoption of the Guidelines on national level as part of formal education in the national curricula and on international lever as part of 10YFP.

During the event, Samuel Ochieng, president of Consumer International, said, “The world recognises the need for sustainable choices if we are to meet our development goals and secure a fair and just future for our children. Consumers, government and corporations must all take responsibility here, and we believe teaching our younger generations about sustainable consumption practise is the best way to help realise that responsibility in the long term.”

On his part Daimon Mwakyembe, Chairman of Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society said, “it is only when Tanzania consumers are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities that Tanzania can attain sustainable development, which covers all people from all walks of lives.”

Consumer International (CI) is the only independent global campaigning voice for consumers. With over 220 member organization in 115 countries, CI builds a powerful international consumer movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere.

Tanzania Consumer advocacy Society is a support member of consumes International’s activities. It is an independent consumers’ voice whose intention is to forge a strong Consumers-Private-Public-Partnership with all sectoral regulatory authorities existing in Tanzania, local and international non-governmental organizations to supplement government efforts on promotion and protection of consumers’ rights in Tanzania.

Bulk of Kariakoo imported good fake

By Angel Navuri
The Guardian; Wednesday 12, September 2007

The fair Competition Commission (FCC) has said that about 50 per cent of all imported goods from China and sold in Kariakoo shops in Dar es Salaam are counterfeit. Speaking to the Guardian yesterday, the FCC Director of Consumer Affairs and Administration, Michael Shilla, said many local traders took sample of specific products to China where fake brands were manufactured.

“Traders take the samples and fly with them to China to have substandard goods manufactured for them. They then sell them in the local market at a cheaper price compared to that of original goods,” said Shilla

Shilla said that counterfeit goods had a negative effect on the country’s economy as well as genuine entrepreneurs. “Imitation goods, whose quality is poor, are widely sold in Tanzania market at low price. Most of them pose harm to human beings,” he said.

Electronics are among the leading phone goods overwhelming the Tanzania’s chief market location – Kariakoo in Dar es Salaam. He said dealers in genuine goods were incurring losses as customers opted for cheaper items, causing the government to lose projected revenue.

Shilla said bogus products were a major problem in the country at the moment. He said the commission was waiting for the government to amend the law regulating its functions so as to give it more teeth. “At the moment, we are only allowed to inspect goods at the port and not otherwise. We can only inspect the shops with a court order in hand,” he said.

He said in most cases, they got court orders rather late, only to find out that the suspected dealers had already hidden the counterfeit goods. “We can catch the fake items but we are normally required to get a court order, which, in most cases, takes too long to allow us nab the culprits,” he said.

Asked why FCC preferred burning counterfeits to burying them, the official said: “Environmentalists have advised us to burn them because some have chemicals which are a health hazard. Burying them could result into some irresponsible individuals digging them out and injecting them into the market.”

Asked how they differentiate between an original and fake brand, the official said they normally collaborated with the manufacturer’s representative of a specific product. Responding to a question on measures taken against the illegal dealers, the Commissions legal officer Laiton Mhesa those caught were required to foot the cost of destroying the condemned merchandise or risk a three-year jail sentence or a 5m/ - fine.

On whether such action had helped to curb the flow of given goods, Mhesa said the punishment had in a way helped to reduce the number of those involved in the illegal business.

At least 300 cartons of fake Kiwi shoe polish products worth 21m/- were recently impounded during a crackdown against counterfeit products, which have saturated the country’s markets.
Source from business circles have revealed that most if the counterfeit products originate from China.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian yesterday, FCC Consumer Complaints Officer Frank Mdimi confirmed that a consignment of imitated Kiwi shoe was impounded two weeks ago by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) following a tip-off from a Good Samaritan.

The 261 cartons-each containing 30 boxes and the 42 others cartons, each with 20 boxes, were imported from China, being property of Nkumba Amon Kitula and Nchikichi Trading Company, respectively. The fake Kiwi cartons were destroyed yesterday at Wazo Hill on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.

“We got a tip off from a Good Samaritan that there was a bogus Kiwi stock at the port. After the alert, we carried investigations and unearthed the consignment,” said Mdimi. He said that normally, before the commission destroyed the products, quality inspectors were supposed to verify that the goods were counterfeit.

“People always think that we are not doing our work. However, the Merchandise Marks Act of 1963 doesn’t give us the power to seize fake products that are already on the market,” he said.

Police on Sunday impounded a large number of alleged counterfeit Hitachi TV sets, which were also imported from China, impeccable sources told The Guardian.

World must work on violations of consumers’ rights

By Eric Toroka
Business Times; Friday 30 may – 5 June, 2007

The issue of violation of consumers’ rights has not been given due weight by a number of countries in the world and therefore urged action is needed to tackle the problem as contrary to that many states will fall short of realising their MDGs, says executive director for Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), Bernard Kihiyo.

He said if we real want countries to make progress in reducing poverty and attaining the MDGs Tanzanians have a think twice and analyse the trend of events with the intention to help countries realise the intended goals.

In 2000 the UN Millennium Declaration, adopted at the largest-even gathering of heads of state and governments, committed countries (rich and poor).

The TCAS executive director elaborated, he should acknowledge; this strategy as one of the best ever being adopted by the UN and agreed that by 2015 all 191 United Nations member state should have:
· Eradicated extreme poverty and hunger,
· Achieved universal primary education;
· Promoted gender equality and empower women;
· Reduced child mortality;
· Improved maternal health;
· Combated HIV/Aids, Malaria and other diseases;
· Ensured environmental sustainability;
· Developed a global partnership for development “We are almost half way to 2015; however, I have the feeling that so many countries around the world (including Tanzania) will far short the Millennium Development Goals if the world will not urgently take into account consumers’ rights violation as the matter of concern” he said.

For instance, how can a country eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, if the market is full of counterfeit products, poor services and unfair charges?

How can a country eradicate poverty while business form cartels to reap more profit out of the little income/resource of the poor especial on food, fuel, essential human drugs, building materials, farming equipment and the like?

How can a country reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/Aids, Malaria and other diseases; while the market is full of fake drugs of all sorts with very poor customer services characterized with unprofessional conducts; with millennium checks and balance by consumers themselves and other stakeholders?

How can a country ensure environment sustainability while consumes and producers don’t know their responsibilities to attain sustainable consumption and production? For instance, the demand for safe sanitation and environment depends far more on hygiene education.

“How can the countries develop a global partnership for development while trade polices in developed countries remain highly discriminatory against developing country exports at the same time encourage sabotage on economies of weaker partners (unfair contracts, counterfeit goods) as a result, we found in our countries more globalization losers than winners”, Kihiyo noted.

Others factors such as declining lever of aid pledge were made by rich countries to allocate at least 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to development by 2015 but; many countries are by far behind this, how can MDGs be attained under these worlds must be backed these circumstances?

Rich countries have made promises to support MDG but these worlds must be backed by deeds.

It is not about hard work, support or individual efforts that will reduce poverty, but also it is about all potential opportunities to eradicate poverty; should be part of the system with ensure equal rewarding to the hard work or opportunity gained or given to individuals especially the poor.

Thus, to achieve a higher rate of successful national strategic program interventions to achieve MDGs, consumer rights protection and a promotion program is of paramount importance.

Section IV 1999-Un Consumer Protection guidelines, underscores the need for governments and international organizations to promote and facilitate capacity-building in the area of consumerism.

Tanzania to Commemorate Consumers’ Rghts Day

By the Express reporter, Singida
The express; 21-27 February, 2008

Tanzania will join other countries in the world to commemorate the world Consumers’ Rights day, which will be held on 15th of next mouth.

Speaking at in interview in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, the Executive Director of Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society, Bernard Kihiyo, said the commemoration day was set to address consumer rights violation challenges in the world, including Tanzania.

This years World Consumer Right Day theme is ‘Junk food generation - to the marketing of unhealthy food’.

Junk foods are foods high in sugar, salt and fat content, and as result of confusing labelling and extensive promotion it can be difficult to tell apart what food of drink is healthy or not healthy.

He said TCAS intend to organize consumers’ week, eventful consumers’ rights related activities days, before the climax of commemorating the World Consumers Rights Day.

On 13th, March, TCAS will convene a round table meeting to sensitize people about marking the WCRD on 15th march.

The society also plants to hold a press conference to extend an invitation to members of the general public, media houses, and members of professional bodies, like medical doctors from Muhimbili, Tanzania Bureau of Standards personnel and Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority personnel, to take about their efforts to curb junk food generation, and to determine a way forward for this campaign.

Others activities include conducting a Round table meeting to celebrate WCRD with the focus on consumers’ empowerment, and awareness creation on consumers’ rights and remedies on the one hand, and on the other way sounding a note of warning about junk Food Generation.

During the day, TCAS will hold a peaceful rally from Kariakoo to Mnazi Mmoja grounds, in the morning, later to make a key word on World Consumers’ Rights Day at Mnazi Mmoja grounds, where TCAS management group representatives and key government officials will deliver speeches.

The main message to mark the day will focus on awareness creation of junk food Generation, throughout the final event and through media coverage by newspapers, radio and Television.

World Consumers’ rights Day have its origins in former US President John F. Kennedy, in his 15th March 1962 declaration to the US Congress.

World Consumers’ rights Day was first observed on 15th March 1983 in the US and UK, later in the developed world, Egypt, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, just to mention a few, and has since become an important occasion for mobilising citizen action under the leadership of the world consumers’ organization body know as “Consumers International”.

Lease financing and Tanzania’s economy

By Eric Toroka
Business Times; Friday, 7-13 march,2008

The economy of Tanzania is said to be missing the multiple effects that are associated with the lease financing business. It is general agreed that lease financing is a significant financial marketing product. This is in the sense that is furthers capital investment, SME development, domestic production, industrial diversification and proper people welfare and infrastructure improvements – thus overall contributing to national economic growth.

Speaking in an interview with Business Times in Dar es Salaam Tuesday last week, an expert in the field, Bernard Elia Kihiyo, said “Tanzania was missing the multiple effects of the leasing finance business”, adding that” leasing can provide additional marketing channels for financial services”.

Kihiyo, who is the executive director of the Tanzania Consumer advocacy Society (TCAS0, we want on: “Equipment suppliers can link customers to leasing companies and banks …these can also provide credit lines to independent leasing companies once these are established”.

Finance lease is similar to capital lease. This is when a financial institution effectively allows a firm or an individual to acquire or use an asset or equipment, even if the firm never owns the asset.

Typically, a finance lease will give the lessee control over any asset for a large proportion of the assets useful life, providing the lessee with the benefits-and risks-of ownership.

Kihiyo said one of the effects of lack of access to leasing finance is that doing business will require huge sums of money.

“This is because a lot of capital would be tied up in equipment, installation, freight, consulting and software, living fewer funds available for items such as inventory, safety improvement, advertising consumer’s education, marketing and personnel,” he explained.

Usually, “banks want a 20 – 40 per cent down payment instead of upfront 100 per cent costs of not with leasing finance support”, he said, noting that “buying or selling a house, for example, was going to be a difficult task, as the country would be having the so-called stagnant economy with idle or dormant capital assets.

“Without leasing finance”, Kihiyo went on, “business and individuals would not be protected from obsolete equipment, and the costs associated with property disposition of outdated equipment.

“Certain lease structures are 100 per cent tax-deductible. The full cost of leasing can often be treated as an expense item for income tax purpose, and may result in a large tax deduction. The opposite is true-as business or individuals have to pay a substantial amount on tax,” he stressed.

“Without a proper legal framework, financial institutions and service users operate in fear-also creating a great chance for banks and other financial institutions to give loans with fear”.

Financial leasing is a system which allows people to access financial services from banks through hiring equipment of assets. This is done through the so called hiring or contractual purchase of items such as production equipment, working tools, cars and homes mortgage.

People in developed and stable economies routinely enjoy the benefits of leasing finance – especially in electronic goods such mobile phones. When selling or buying houses, and also for business, lease financing is one of the keys to success.

“We would like to see companies in Tanzania – such as Vodacom, Celtel, Tigo, and Zantel – assisting local and poorer customers in acquiring durable and reliable mobile handsets. The real estate industry could also get into similar arrangement in selling and buying homes – thereby stimulating the dormant capital on housing,” Kihiyo stated.

In regard to the treatment of leasing for local financing banks – a majority of whom are not doing leasing finance – he said:

“Leasing finance is one of the most difficult forms of financial business especially in a turbulent economy like Tanzania’s with unstable currency and an inflation rate that sometimes reached double digits …. That is one of the reasons why a majority of the local banks are not investing in this venture”.

A part from the tax benefit, Kihiyo said the lack of legal and regulatory frameworks that are necessary for financial leasing development, mobilization and proper channel of available financial resources into leasing operations is one of the limitations that prevent most of the local banks from venturing into finance leasing.

“Nonetheless, TCAS believes there should be proper protection of interests of financiers, the government and customers … There should also be clearly laid out rules and regulations, such as the right and obligations of parties, as well as the allocation of financial risks … these are not present in Tanzania”.

Recently, the programmes manage of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the SECO-IFC Tanzania leasing programme, Moyo Violet Ndonde, mentioned some of the achievements recorded in Tanzania since its inception towards the end of 2005.

These include increasing understanding and awareness of finance leasing, as well as its importance and benefits to the national economy and SMEs amongst stakeholders.

“During the year under review, various programme initiatives supported by Switzerland included the publication of a quarterly newsletter and the launch of a public website, as well as sensitization seminars reaching over 4500 stakeholders in Tanzania,” Ndonde noted.

The first reading of the Finance Leasing Bill had already been gone through in the National assembly, and it was expected that the Bill would be enacted by the Parliament during the next sitting this year.

She explained that the Bill includes proposals for amendments of other laws affecting leasing, as well as for the clear application of the extant tax laws on finance leasing development in Tanzania.

“About six new independent leasing firms, both domestic and international, were in the process of being established – with the expectation of more players in the future”, she noted.