Tuesday, May 21, 2013
TBS urged to open zonal offices in up country regions
THE parliamentary economic committee on Trade and industries on Wednesday this week urged the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to open zonal offices in order to effectively control the supply of counterfeit goods which enters local market through various porous border posts in the country. Contributing to the budget estimate of the Ministry of Trade and Industries for the 2013/14 financial year, the committee Chairman Mahmoud .H. Mgimwa (CCM) said in his speech that, the supply of counterfeit goods in local market is largely contributed by the absence of TBS offices in upcountry regions. He further noted that, in spite of having no zonal offices countrywide since the organization was established in 1975, this is the reason the organization is currently not performing its duties as required. Another thing he noted is due to insufficient number of technical expert workers the organization is faced with so as to enable it run concurrently with the economic activities surrounding trade sector in the country. However, he said that, less workers who currently are recruited in the organization has contributed to a greater extent the domination of counterfeit goods in local market in the country as there are no experts to fight and control the increased phenomenon. He said adding that, due to the persisting situation, unscrupulous traders use a loophole to make mischief by passing through with their goods as there are no TBS officials to ask them while on transit with their unchecked imported goods through in the country. With the current situation, his committee has urged the government to open up zonal offices and if possible employ more experts to work for the organization which seems to have been over burdened for having less manpower to curb with the increased supply of counterfeit goods in the country. He said currently TBS has less workers compared to other East African countries and this is because of the fact t that, the government has not yet issued an employment permit to the organization. In 2012/13 the TBS asked a permit to employ 62 workers in addition but the government allowed them 32 workers. However, he further noted in his speech that, the government has since stopped employment since February 2013. In view of the available workers’ statistics, it is a vivid factor that the organization cannot have an overall control of the situation due to the less number of workers it has. He gave an example of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) which he said in his speech that has scattered its offices and workers almost in every important station to curb with the supply of fake goods which might have been penetrating through. He said the government of Kenya has employed over 1,000 workers who have been scattered in all its zonal offices located in places such as in Mombasa, Kisumu, Garisa, Nyeri, Nakuru and in all other various border posts in that country. In view of this situation, the Parliamentary committee has advised the government to emulate fellow Kenyans and take appropriate drastic steps to save the organization by employing more technical and expert workers. The committee has also advised the government through Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to impose tax on the imported cement products which according to their survey have discovered that is given a subsidy by the government of the country from which it’s imported. The move would help promote local manufacturers. Meanwhile, together with the current situation facing TBS organization, a legislator Deogratius Ntukamanzima (CCM) has blamed TBS for its failure to curb with the increased abundance supply of substandard goods which have flooded Tanzania local market especially in big cities. He threw his worries in surprise when contributing to a budget estimate of the Ministry of Trade and Industries for the 2013/14 financial year and noted that, the recent collapse of the 16th storey building along Indira Gandhi Street in the heart of the city of Dar es Salaam was obviously caused by counterfeit building materials. In addition to the goods, he also talked of consumable goods which he said some of them do not conform to the standards and hence arte unfit for consumption. He said that, a child who uses such foods becomes hypertensive an aspect that some of them are not fit and accurate to accomplish an assigned task for their life.