Monday, August 19, 2013

Substandard products dominates local market despite ban

THE government’s efforts over the control of the illegal supply of imported counterfeit products from entering in the country might have hit a snag as the local market is still dominated by substandard products, the survey can establish. The survey carried out at Kariakoo main trading hub of the central wholesale and retail market complex for all things in downtown Dar es Salaam has found out that, imported goods mostly electrical and electronic communication products of the same brand are sold at a different price rates irrespective of their country of origin. Buyers are openly informed and sometimes briefed of the nature of a product they intend to buy by shopkeepers in order to make them be assured of the manufacturing company and their countries of origin. Some interviewed shop attendants said in interview that,  most of genuine products comes from European nations as they have longer durability, with the poorest and low quality products coming from far East countries mostly China, a factor that drives a substantial number of buyers become perplexed and rather confused. The survey has noted that, it is a normal thing to see that an electrical product of the same brand, size and shape such as Circuit breakers, Earth rod and a Main switch which are used largely for wiring purposes in residential houses are sold at different price rates.The same thing applies in most retail shops selling imported cell phone batteries displayed in frames made of glasses. The extensive bulk of these products put on display have different price rates depending on their durability.  This is confusing in regard to the normal saying among the people who attributes the fact that, a product which is sold in lower price rate is low in terms of quality, compared to those sold at a higher price rate which buyers assumes to be of good quality.  The perception confuses the minds of many buyers and users of such products who together with their inferiority complex towards the general understanding of the concept, scores of them ends up buying counterfeit products without their knowledge.  Johnson Msigala (36), a resident of Mwananyamala who was cornered by this writer strolling around in a shopping spree noted that, there is a possibility of cheating on these products most of which are imported and are on high supply by some shop owners. A spot check reveals that, a genuine earth rod assumed to have longer lifespan is sold at Sh. 45,000 while others with shorter span can be fetched at between Sh. 3,500, Sh. 8,000 and Sh. 15,000 respectively depending on their sizes and their country of origin.  Shopkeepers have revealed that, earth rods have different sizes and quality in such that the highest paying product has a copper lining while the fake ones do not have copper and are purely made of iron. An electrical circuit breaker which is among important electrical equipment is sold in two different prices, the one for China made is fetched at Sh. 18,000, whereas another one supposed to have been imported from UK is fetched at between Sh. 80,000 and Sh. 100,000 respectively. The main switch with four way gang is also sold at different price rates although there are only two types available in the market. These are main switch for MCL Co. Ltd based in Dar es Salaam which can be fetched at Sh. 45,000,  A similar type of the main switch being supplied by a Dar based TAN-UK firm is fetched at Sh. 18,000.  Both of these two types of main switches are imported from China, but the two companies are the main suppliers say one shopkeeper Ismail Khan, a Tanzanian of Asian origin. However, he said in an exclusive interview that, a product which sells at a lower price rate definitely has shorter lifespan than those sold higher. James Peter a resident of Buguruni queried and wondered if shopkeepers confess themselves to be selling products with low quality design standards, what then is the government doing to save consumers in the country?  Commenting on the effects of such equipment a long experienced electrical technician working as an agent for TANESCO, a sole power utility firm in the country said that, electrical goods with the lowest price rates do not last longer if used for wiring.  Jeremiah Mukoyi (35) revealed that, by using such equipment it will require regular replacements in a periodical check up as most of these equipment are not sustainable enough in terms of use for they are prone to leakage and thus causing frequent lose connections in the whole wiring systems. The government through its organ the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has since early this year put down various major strategic measures as precautions in order to curb with the increased phenomenon that caused fear to buyers of such goods in the country. Consumers of such products have ever since threw a blame to TBS for what it had shown as a total failure of accountability which has ultimately resulted into giving rise to mushrooming of counterfeit products in the country. However, TBS Spokesperson Roida Andusamile was recently quoted by the media as saying that, despite of much efforts spearheaded by TBS, less has been achieved to fully curb the phenomenon by 100 percent rate simply due to the presence of numerous ways used by unscrupulous traders as porous borders better known as “panya routes” within our country’s national frontiers. According to the Executive Director of Tanzania Consumer Society (TCS) Bernard Kihiyo, counterfeit products will stop flowing in the country if there would be a joint collaboration of the stakeholders among the five East African countries. Kihiyo is on the view of the fact that, there should be a mechanism that needs to be established which would be able to destroy syndicate behind the importation, distribution and sale of sub-standards goods.

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