Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How inaccurate measuring instruments poses doubts to customers

Buyers of different products measured in kilograms have expressed a grave concern over the long running weights of products which they purchase from retail shops saying that, is less in comparison with the quantity required.  A random survey carried by this paper in Dar es Salaam’s city localities has discovered that, there are some shopkeepers who are notorious of scaling cheats and swindling thus using rigged weighing scales which have been tampered to cheat their potential customers. Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper early this week in Dar es Salaam, some dismayed potential buyers have expressed their disappointment over the matter, saying that are receiving a kilogram of a product they purchase that is not complete which looks like a three quarter kilo. Confirming to this writer, a desperate customer Hamisi Habibu, a resident of Kipunguni ‘B’ in Gongo La Mboto area within Ilala municipal council said that, one day he bought a kilogram of meat at a local butcher near his home and found it more lighter than what he expected. He further noted that, he took the sample of the already measured meat to another measuring scale used by one shopkeeper and found it had fallen short of weight. Likewise, a business woman who identified himself by one name Asha said that, she used to buy 5 kilograms of home baking flour from which she used to prepare 50 pieces of the so-called ‘Chapati’ for her Mama Lishe business entity, but gradually she discovered there is a constant decrease on the weight and is now producing 42 pieces of chapati.
 During the interview, most buyers have strongly pointed an accusing finger to unscrupulous traders and other shopkeepers for being untrustworthy and called for the immediate assistance from the authorities concerned. Contacted for comments early this week in Dar es Salaam, WMA’s Public Relations Officer Rehema Rashid said that, her agency continues to do regular checkups to identify illegal traders who have been cheating their customer although there are some claims and irregularities raised by potential buyers. Elaborating about the exercise she said that, “during the first quarter of the 2014/15 financial year about 160 traders have been arrested and fined in different parts of Dar es Salaam city suburbs after having been found guilty in connection with violation of the use of weights and measures. She said adding that, their arrest is in accordance to section 46 (1) of Weights and Measures Act of 2002 that aimed to protect consumers in fair and just trade from exploitation. Hardly three months ago, the Agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Magdalena Chuwa was quoted by the media and admitted that, the agency has been facing a serious shortage of staff to move countrywide on timely basis to supervise measuring scale instruments. In view of this, she asked the consumers must help double check the accuracy of scales and other measuring gadgets when purchasing products at different stores and business centres. Speaking in a telephone interview early this week, a trade expert from the Ministry of Trade and Industry who preferred anonymity said that, “accurate measures and weights also simplify trade and encourage investment as people prefer to invest in an up-to standard economy.” According to him, it is an obligation that, fairness in trade should be treated as it is the major concept under which investors in trade could feel more secure within their business transactions which in today’s global economy is competitive. The WMA is an agency working under the umbrella of the ministry of Trade and Industry which is charged with consumer protection through ensuring measuring systems result in fair trade transactions. The agency is mandated to provide protection to consumers in relation to legal metrological control which includes legal control of measuring instruments.

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