9 July 2014

Tanzania: Cheating Traders 'On Line of Fire'

THE government is currently reviewing existing laws so as to impose harsher punishment for unscrupulous traders who exploit consumers by deliberately using unsuitable and substandard weighing instruments.

Weights and Measures Agency (WMA) Principal Weights and Measures Officer, Ms Zainabu Kafungo, said the agency is facing a number of challenges including packages that do not match the quantity of goods packed and negligence on part of packers that result in incorrect markings. She was speaking to the 'Daily News' at the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF).

She said the current laws are not deterring dishonest business people. She said, for instance, a person found selling goods with faulty measures for the first time is subjected to a fine of not more than 10,000/-, three years imprisonment or both, while a person found to have committed the offence for the second time is fined an amount that does not exceed 20,000/-, seven years imprisonment or both.

Ms Kafungo said "We have prepared new laws which will soon be presented before the National Assembly for debate and passing, we believe that upon passing of these new laws there won't be loopholes for cheating," she said.

Ms Kifungo said the new laws will either double or triple the punishments, thus ensuring that use of suitable measuring instruments and accuracy of actual quantity is observed.

To ensure that it reaches its goals of ensuring good labelling requirements, standardisation of pack sizes, metrological control and prevention of deceptive packaging, WMA has set up centres across the country and at all ports.

On the other hand, she pointed out that shortage of staff was also one of the impediment frustrating their efforts of ensuring that a fair trade.

"Workers shortage is also a big problem. Despite the fact that we have offices in all regions, inspectors are inadequate," she noted.

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