BY LYDIA SHEKIGHENDA
25th August 2010
The government is determined to curb current massive importation of sub-standard products into the country by ensuring that all imports are verified at the point of origin to determine whether they meet the requisite quality standards, Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) Director General Charles Ekelege said yesterday.
He told a press conference at the TBS premises in Dar rs Salaam that, the exercise would be undertaken through a ‘Pre- shipment Verification of Conformity to Standards programme’ to be managed by the bureau together with other local and international partners.
The TBS chief executive said the process of securing the local and international partners were currently underway to enable timely take-off of the exercise.
“We are going to announce the international tender basing on the Public Procurement Act next month to get partners who will implement the programme,’ Ekelege told participants to the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) Regional Workshop on Conformity Assessment from 20 eastern and southern Africa countries.
He added that once implemented there would be no sub-standard goods which would be imported into the country because companies that would be contracted to execute the programme would be liable for any imported poor quality products.
According to Ekelege, the international accepted programme was already being implemented by other African countries including Kenya, Uganda and Botswana.
He said the programme would involve all the commodities countrywide and the tender was open to both local and international companies.
Ekelege said the workshop was a starting point as a forum for discussing harmonisation of the conformity assessment procedures in the region with the aim of facilitating the smooth flow and exchange of goods and services in the region.
For his part, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing, Shaaban Mwinjaka said implementation of international standards and conformity assessment practices provided excellent means of technology transfer to developing countries while assisting in overcoming technology gaps.
“International standards are important in improving our developing countries’ access to international markets and to strengthening ability to implement international trade obligations,” he said.
“Consumers shall have more confidence in products bearing a mark of certificate of conformity that attest to quality, safety or other desirable characteristics,” Mwinjaka said, adding that manufacturers needed to make sure that their products met the requirements specified in the relevant standards.
He said assessing products to see whether they met relevant standards further helped manufacturers to avoid costs of product failures in the market.
According to the Deputy PS, Tanzania had already moved a positive step by actively participating in the process of harmonising regional procedures on conformity assessment in both the East African Community and the Southern Africa Development Community.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN