8 January 2013

Tanzania: TBS Says Limited By Staff Shortage

Arusha — POOR staffing at the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) makes it hard for the country to effectively control infiltration of counterfeit products and sub-standard goods from outside the borders.

"The TBS has a workforce of just 400 employees country-wide which is less than 50 per cent of people working for the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), in the neighbouring country, which has over 1000 workers despite it being relatively smaller than Tanzania," the Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, pointed out.

He added, "We have now resolved to join forces through TBS, the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA), the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) and local security organs such as the Police in order to curb the problem." Dr Kigoda noted that the turbo-powered combined efforts will help to reduce counterfeits significantly.

According to Dr Kigoda, Tanzania also borders more countries than Kenya and has longest borderline perimeter than its immediate neighbour, that is why Kenya has managed to reduce the influx of fake goods by over 70 per cent. Local estimates place fake and sub-standard goods in Tanzania at over 20 per cent of the total imported merchandise in the country.

Globally, counterfeit goods account for up to 30 per cent of traded products world-wide. The highly permeable Tanzania borderlines are reportedly more susceptible to their infiltration here.

The minister was speaking shortly after opening a regional workshop on 'Life Cycle Assessment,' organized by the International Standards Organization (ISO), in conjunction with the TBS to address the issue of industrial production in respect to environment protection and global warming.

The event has brought together nearly 30 participants from 14 countries in Eastern Africa region as well as those from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) trading bloc. The TBS Acting Director General, Mr Leandri Kinabo, said his authority was working towards establishing a system through which goods will be inspected right from their ports of origin.

"Because if we wait until shipments reach here, corruption and other dubious deals may affect the inspections," said Mr Kinabo.

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