TANZANIA Bureau of Standards (TBS) has allayed fears on vehicle inspection upon arrival in the country, saying the latest introduced move aims at creating employment to Tanzanians and boost the country's revenue.
The clarification follows mixed reactions by stakeholders, with some commending the move, while others cautioning over the possibilities of fuelling corruption and bureaucracy.
According to TBS, from March 1, this year, all imported vehicles will be inspected upon arrival in the country, contrary to the current system in which the vehicles are being inspected abroad. This means that inspection fee paid abroad will now be paid locally.
TBS Director of Quality Management Lazaro Msasalaga said on Thursday that the decision will also enable Tanzanians to gain experience, ensure better quality and minimize cost.
He said TBS is currently capable of conducting inspections, noting that the standards regulator will deal only with vehicles destined to Tanzania and not on transit. The inspection will be done after all other procedures have been completed at the port.
Mr Msasalaga said that after the completion of all clearing procedures the vehicles will be taken to the four yards set aside for the task, where each yard will have specific vehicles to be inspected.
Similarly, vehicles which will be found to be non-compliant with the required standards will have their own yard outside the port at the 'UDA' yard.
"All vehicles will be unloaded and stored at special areas. There are four yards where one will be for small cars called Road On road Off (Ro-Ro) if full they will be transferred to another yard called Kitopeni on the fuel side. Lighter Quay yard and Copper yard will be used for large vehicles while UDA yards will be used for vehicles with technical faults which need to be repaired," said Msasalaga.
He said TBS has prepared 12 sets of vehicle inspection equipment of which, eight sets will be used in Ro-Ro for small vehicles, two sets for large vehicles, one set for Kitopeni yard and the other set for UDA yard.
He said all stakeholders have been involved and will meet with clearing and forwarding companies to create a better environment to make the work easier and friendlier.
Mr Msasalaga said the vehicle could not be registered in the country if it had not received a certificate of inspection from the relevant authority, which is TBS.
He said the cost of the inspection would be $140, plus service charge of US dollars 30 totaling USD 180. He added that under the present system, the payment is USD 150 with TBS receiving only 30 per cent.
TBS Head of Communications Unit Ms Roida Andusamile said that currently the bureau inspects the imported vehicles abroad through its three agents from Japan and one from Dubai. She noted that the contracts with the four agents will come to an end soon.
"All inspection certificates which will be issued by the agents from March 1 this year will not be valid" she said.
Mzumbe University Lecturer of Economics, Dr Eliaza Mkuna commended TBS for putting in place systems that will enable the country to conduct destination inspection on imported vehicles and boost revenue.
"In addition to ensuring that thorough inspection is carried on imported vehicles at destination, it will also help to reduce cost and boost revenue," he said.
He, however, said that TBS should oversee the system to ensure that it does not fuel bureaucracy especially delays in clearance procedures.
"The system is good but the public is concerned that it may cause inconveniences to vehicle importers, if well implemented it will be beneficial to the country's economy," Dr Mkuna said.
Another Economics Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Prof Humphrey Moshi cautioned that TBS should oversee effective implementation of the system to avoid inconveniences to vehicle importers and control importation of dilapidated vehicles.
He said that if the country has trained vehicle inspectors who can carry out the task, there was no need to relay on foreign agents.
He noted that TBS should also look into ways which may help to contain double standard and corruption so that the system does not become counterproductive.
Former Secretary General of the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) Mr Tony Swai said that most of imported vehicles which are inspected abroad have mechanical faults a situation that has made our country a dumping ground.
He added that the system will boost revenue since the inspection fee which was paid abroad will remain in the country adding that the most important thing for TBS to take into account is to ensure that the system does not cause problems to vehicle importers.