East Africa: Tanzania Rushes to Meet EAC Standards

Dar es Salaam — The Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has moved to review standards of soap and detergents that will be included in the harmonization of the products for all member states, in a bid to make sure that Tanzanian products compete with quality in the East African region.

This could be good news to consumers who have been witnessing the increase of soap imports while most of the locally manufactured and processed are not certified.

TBS's Acting Director General, Mr. Leandri Kinabo told East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam that the move is crucial for the country's efforts to make sure it effectively competes in the region, with quality products that meet standards specifications.

Kinabo told the national consultative meeting to review the proposed draft on harmonization of the products standardization in Dar es Salaam that the national views on the draft will be presented to the EA regional harmonization meeting scheduled for Dar es Salaam, early next month.

"I urge stakeholders of the meeting to deliberate on the draft and come up with scientific-based recommendations that will be tools during harmonization at East African Community level," Kinabo said in a speech read on his behalf by the Engineering Standards Manager, Ms Edina Ndumbaro.

He added that the development is one of the series of such efforts by the country in response to a call for the region to harmonize standards of a number of products for quality assurance and trade facilitation.

The process of standards development is endeavored to capture the principles as defined in the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement and adapted in the EAC procedures and principles.

The draft involves 14 specifications that are laundry soap, toilet soap, liquid soap, synthetic detergent paste, synthetic industrial detergent powder and herbal soap.

Others are: oven cleaner detergent and grease remover, instant hand sanitizer, liquid cleanser for toilet bowl and urinal, carpet and upholstery shampoo.

The last batch includes the anti-bacterial toilet soap, antiseptic liquid soap, synthetic detergent powder for household use and determination of the microbial of cosmetic soap bars and liquid hand body washes.

In the performance of its functions the bureau keeps an eye on the health, safety, environment and general welfare of the people of the United Republic; and maintains, as far as may be practicable, a system of consultation and co-operation with anybody established by or under any written law and having functions similar or relating to industrial or commercial standards generally.

Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) was established under the Ministry of Industry and Trade by an Act of Parliament, the Standards Act No.3 of 1975 as the National Standards Institute and became operational in April 1976.

It was subsequently renamed Tanzania Bureau of Standards through an amendment to the Act by Act No.1 of 1977. The Standards Act No. 3 was later repealed and replaced by the Standards Act No. 2 of 2009, which gave the Bureau more powers in carrying out its mandate.

The Bureau was established as part of the efforts by the government to strengthen the supporting institutional infrastructure for the industry and commerce sectors of the economy.

Specifically, TBS was mandated to undertake measures for quality control of products of all descriptions and to promote standardization in industry and commerce.

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