6 July 2014

Tanzania: Importation of Used Undergarments Thrive Despite Ban

TANZANIA Bureau of Standards (TBS) has pointed an accusing finger to consumers, saying they are frustrating the Bureau's war against second-hand undergarments business.

Speaking to the 'Sunday News' at the ongoing 38th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), TBS Corporate and Public Affairs Officer, Roida Andusamile said the war seem to be hard to win due to the fact that buyers are not cooperating with the Bureau.

"If there can be no buyers, it is then obvious that this condemned business will have already been a thing of the past," she noted. She said the inspection won't stop until the business is stopped, adding that TBS will intensify surveillance as well as education programmes to the public on the effects of wearing second-hand underwear.

Ms Andusamile reiterated TBS firmness on taking stern measures against unscrupulous traders and to enhance the war against importation and selling of undergarments. She said most importers of second-hand clothes have adhered to regulations and no longer import the banned undergarments, but there are others who are secretly importing the commodity.

"Wholesalers have adhered to regulations and have stopped importing the used undergarments, but we are still tracing the routes used by a few dealers to bring the undergarments into the market," she said, adding that the undergarments circulating in the market currently are most likely brought in through 'panya' routes which are not easy to trace.

She said that the Bureau banned the sale of second-hand underwear since June, last year and by September it embarked on rigorous inspections to the local markets.

Ms Andusamile observed that from the inspection which was conducted in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mbeya, Mwanza and Kilimanjaro regions, the Bureau managed to destroy consignments of used undergarments that were found in the relevant markets.

"We will like to remind all people involved in the business of used garments that they are not allowed to be imported and sold in the country due to health and safety reasons," she noted. The secondhand underwear business is contrary to Tanzania's requirements on compulsory standards for inspection and acceptance criteria for used textile products.

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