Tanzania: How GCLA Aligns to Industrialisation Drive

FOR the past four years of President John Magufuli in power government's entities have been aligning their policies and strategies to suit direction of country's industrialisation agenda.

Each institution was up to play its role in driving the country into industry-driven economy come 2025. The Government Chemist Laboratory Authority (GCLA) highlights number of areas within its mandates that it worked on during the past four years as part of its successes attained.

Chief Government Chemist, Fidelice Mafumiko explains that in enabling and contributing to government's efforts towards industrial economy, the authority did number of things in managing chemicals production, transportation, uses, importation and exportation.

As far as industrialisation is concerned, Dr Mafumiko says the authority, being a custodian of industrial and domestic chemicals Act of 2003, it has been ensuring that the chemicals that were categorized as raw materials for industries were well managed.

Apart from enforcing the law, the authority also used a participatory approach whereby industrialists, exporters and importers of the chemicals were involved in chemical management.

In the past four years of Fifth Phase Government, the GCLA conducted number of trainings to these groups aiming at building their capacity on legal frameworks and educated them more on new skills how to handle chemicals to avoid accidents.

To relieve the dealers from huge burden of levies imposed on chemicals business, the authority, through the Finance and Planning Ministry has scraped a total of 17 levies, and reduced eight others in implementing the mentioned legislation.

"This move has led to improvement in environment of doing business in Tanzania because it cushions a cost burden to business people and industrial production," Dr Mafumiko explains as he sheds light on the achievements of authority during four years of Magufuli's administration and its contribution to building industrialized nation.

It was in this view that the authority also amended the law on industrial and domestic chemicals to make improvements to section 43 (110) in order to allow importation of chemicals in a bulk.

"These changes are expected to increase amount of chemicals cargo at the Dar es Salaam Port, Tanga and Mtwara ports, thus boosting trade and revenues," he notes. During the past four years the authority also made great steps in improving its infrastructures, including laboratories and office buildings, thanks to the government's budget allocation to the GCLA.

There have been significant investments in increasing capacity of the laboratories for forensic investigations. The authority procured about 10 specialized equipment among others are Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LCMS/ MS), Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GCMS), Genetic Analyzer, Gas Analyzer, Total Fat analyser and Fiber analyser.

"These equipment have capacity to do investigation on samples of illicit drugs, foods, medicines, cattle, poisonous materials, industrial products and others to determine their quality and safety to consumers," the Chief Government Chemist highlights.

The purchase of new laboratory tools went hand in hand with improvement in building infrastructures in the region of Mbeya, Arusha and at its head office in Dar es Salaam. According to Dr Mafumiko, the improved infrastructures have been catalyst in improving services offered by the authority through electronic systems.

The GCLA has heightened its systems of controlling chemicals in a bid to safeguard people's health and effects to environment. In performing this duty, the authority inspected a total of 2,406 chemicals warehouses in 2018/19 up from only 414 warehouses four years ago.

Dr Mafumiko attributed the increased number of inspected houses to a beefed up manpower which enabled the authority to do inspection around the clock at all national 45 borders.

The capacity of registering dealers of chemicals has also increased whereby in 2015/16 the authority registered 2,129 dealers while this year a total of 3,447 have been registered after it tightened the noose on lawbreakers. The Chief Chemist further mentions that the authority has managed to rise its revenues collection from 9.3bn/- to 24.2bn/- during the corresponding period.

The secret behind the rise in revenues was strengthened revenues collection systems of Epicor Financial Management and Government e-Payment Gateway (GePG). The Epicor Financial Management is a scalable enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite of accounting applications for businesses of any size in the manufacturing, distribution, retail, hospitality and service industries.

Whereas, the GePG is a centralized system, connected to all available electronic revenue collection channels to facilitate electronic money transactions from the public to the Government and vice versa.

Speaking about future plans, Dr Mafumiko said GCLA would continue strengthening relationship with institutions offering health services, especially modern treatment involving gene therapy, kidney and sex ambiguity.

The authority also looks forward to continue cementing work relations with Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) and others in enabling patients suffering from various diseases including leukaemia and others that need bone marrow transplant to get such service.

The GCLA conducts DNA tests particularly a one so called 'chimerism' to establish efficiency of bone marrow transplant done to a patient. On other hand, it plans to set up national human DNA database that will be used in the analysis of genetic disease, fingerprint for criminology or genealogy.

The authority was in initial stages to set up the database in collaboration with eGovernment Agency (eGA), National Identification Authority (NIDA) and Registration Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA).

So far, experts from these key institutions have been involved in the initial stages of the development of the database specifically in developing concept note. Once the DNA database was in place, legal issues would be addressed once and for all, including issues of street children, rape cases and others.

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