CONSUMERS of the Liquefied petroleum gas, currently used by many homes are now legally protected from false measurements, following new regulations effected by the Weights and Measures Agency (WMA).
Making the announcement in Dar es Salaam on Friday, WMA Technical Director, Peter Masinga said the government has decided to make regulations to oversee the sector because it had grown and that there was need to protect consumers and also effect fairness on either side, the consumer and dealer.
Liquefied petroleum gas, also called LPG, GPL, LP Gas, liquid petroleum gas or simply propane or butane, is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as a fuel in heating appliances and vehicles and currently used for cooking by growing numbers of communities in homes, hotels and schools.
The roles of WMA as stipulated under the Weights and Measures Act (Cap 340), the East African Community(EAC) Standardization, Quality, Assurance, Metrology and Testing Act (SQMT Act 2000) and the Executive Agencies Act (Cap 245) are to protect consumers in trade, health, safety and environment in relation to weights and measures and protect society from the consequences of false measurements in public and private transactions, safety, health and environment sectors, among other things.
He said the regulations became ready after involving various stakeholders who gave views, which were used by WMA through the Ministry of Trade and Industry .He said the regulations have already been signed by the Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr Abdalah Kigoda.
The aim of the regulations, he said, is to improve oversight of use of correct weights and measures in the LPG business, as to bring fairness to both parties of seller and consumer.
To implement the regulation, he noted that inspectors from WMA will move across all centres where the gas is sold, to ensure business people involved use the right measures and weights approved by the Agency.
They would also seek to find out if all regulations accorded are followed to the letter in packaging of the product.
He said the benefits of the regulations include ensuring protection of the consumer from being sold less than they pay for, that business people use the required international measures (S1 units) used by the country.
He said the regulations legally empower the consumer to recognise tare weight, net weight and gross weight of the LPG and whitsle blow in case the measures are not respected by the seller.
He added that regulations enable the consumer to ensure the gas cylinder has a label, name of the company distributing, serial number, among others.
The regulations also ensure that the business people involved in selling LPG have weights machine to ensure consumers recognise the weight of the product when buying.
He said those who break the regulations would be fined 10,000/- to 20,000/- but the new law was in the offing to raise such fines to 100m/-.