28 February 2013

Tanzania: PM Urges Use of Local Barcodes

PREMIER Mizengo Pinda has called on local businesses whose products use foreign barcodes to localise them to promote the country in international markets.

Addressing the 3rd Business Stakeholders' Forum in Dar es Salaam, Mr Pinda said it is a shame for businesses to embrace foreign barcodes while the country could provide the same.

"The aim of using barcodes is to facilitate the industrial sector to grow by 15 per cent for the country to become semi-industrialized economy by 2025," said the premier while launching the GS1 Five-Year Strategic Plan at the forum.

GS1 stands for Global Standard One, an international organization with the mandate to provide products with barcodes. GS1 (Tz) National Limited provides the products with barcodes (the country barcodes start with 620) to both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

He said introduction of barcodes was part of government plans to encourage SMEs to enjoy opportunities available in different markets including the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), European Union and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Mr Pinda hailed GS1 for registering about 370 businesses whose 6,000 products have been provided with the barcodes since its establishment in 2011. He has also directed Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS) to introduce a special desk to help SMEs to address bureaucracy, saying the red tape discourages them from applying for TBS endorsement.

"TBS should also keep on training SMEs on products packaging to enable them meet international standards," said the premier. He advised GS1 to work with the private sector to smoothly implement the strategic plan and that the method should target to increase the number of products with barcodes.

According to GS1 acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Fatuma Kange, the strategic plan aims at formalising SMEs for local products to enjoy opportunities available in international markets. "The strategic plan also aims at increasing the number of members from the current 370 to least 1,000 by 2017," she said.

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