Thursday, April 14, 2016

Oil traders vows to curb substandard products in the country

ENGINE oil and lubricants dealers have pledged to support the government in the fight against substandard products in the market in order to save the life of vehicles and machines in the country.  They made the pledge when speaking during a meeting organised by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to discuss challenges facing the sector. Gilbert Chacha said the problem of substandard oil and lubricants is on the increase thus the need for more efforts to deal with the situation. He said Dar es Salaam has many unofficial oil refilling plants, most of which are substandard and sell their products at low prices. “As dealers, we are ready to support the government in its efforts to rid the country of substandard products in the market,” he said, adding that they are ready to incur costs in that regard just to ensure that there are no substandard oil imported or sold in the country. Chacha also said the government must enforce laws and prosecute all people engaged in sale and distribution of substandard oil and lubricants. “I understand that we have good laws, why do we hesitate to enforce them to do away with this problem once and for all?” He queried. TBS Director General, Joseph Masikitiko, said the bureau has started to work out on all challenges facing the sector. He said they will soon install a new oil and lubricant testing plant at TBS offices that would enable them to provide better services to customers. “We will also introduce shifts, this is done purposely to speedily serve our customers and reduce unnecessary costs,” he said. He concurred that the problem of substandard oil and lubricants in the market is serious and more efforts are needed to end it. In a survey conducted by TBS in Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions two years ago, more than 90 percent of oil products did not meet standard classifications by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and ACEA sequences and equivalence, which specify the minimum requirements based on performance specification. He stated that the government has been taking measures to ensure that only quality lubricants are sold in the market. “It is high time we as stakeholders had a clear way forward to ensure that lubricants sold in Tanzania meet the required standards,” he said. Presenting new lubricants standards, TBS Principal Standard Officer Nickonia Mwabuka said they are TZS 647:2001 for engine oil, TZS 675:2001 for gear oil and TZS 667:2001 for brake fluids. He urged consumers to use quality lubricants because they have many benefits. The benefits, he said, include reducing costs, maintaining power and economy and minimising oil consumption. On the other hand, he said, poor quality lubricants could lead to poor engine performance and wear, environmental pollution, improper piston ring operation and loss of foreign currency. Ashura Katunzi from the Directorate of Quality Management at TBS said the bureau will continue with the process of certifying lubricants using available certification schemes. She said follow up will be made abroad for the purpose of verifying certification of lubricants prior to exporting them through PvOC.

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