THE Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has launched a joint strategy with the Zanzibar Bureau of Standards to curb imports of substandard products via illegal ports in the Isles.
TBS Acting Head for Quality Management Department, Lazaro Msasalaga told the ‘Daily News’ yesterday that there were regular consultations with the Isles newly established quality regulator seeing to it that Zanzibar is not used as a gateway for sub-standard products any more.
For years now TBS has been under pressure as the public demanded for serious action in uncovering illegal used products for imports of substandard products that are not recommended for human consumption.
According to Ms Msasalaga, the establishment of ZBS came as a blessing as some positive results in curbing the penetration of substandard are seen.
“We have a series of consultations and educative sessions between our officers and those from ZBS and we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Recently we had a visit from the Budget Committee members of the House of Representative on the matter and they were satisfied on the steps taken by the two bodies,” he said.
The Committee had a wrong notion on the TBS action against goods entered via Zanzibar illegal entry points that it was a deliberate economic sabotage, he said noting, however, they have established the truth that it was not.
Mr Msasalaga led a team of TBS officers here for a workshop that involved the Police Officers, members of the media and traders of used clothes sensitizing them on restrictions governing the business.
During the workshop which was initially requested by the association of sellers of used garments popular as `mitumba,’ traders were informed on health hazards of selling used underpants.
Holding the awareness sessions with mitumba traders was important as it was proved evident many of them were ignorant of the economic hazards associated with selling substandard underpants and related health challenges to the users.
He said TBS was of the view that such sessions were now crucial as they will help in imparting additional knowledge to the mitumba dealers on the requirements they must observe as well as health and economic consequences behind selling used underpants to their consumers.
On his side Joseph Mwita, Chairman of the Mwanza Regional Machinga Association challenged TBS to conduct regular sensitization sessions with his members.
Mwita said in the normal circumstances traders were after profits and it was due to that understanding that they were selling used underpants alongside other used clothes.
He could not come into figures how many such inferior clothes were sold in the local markets for Mwanza region but was certain over 3,000 were engaged in the business.
“So we need extensive education on this matter so that we can make informed decisions when we open used clothes bales,” said Mr Mwita.