East African Standards Committee root for harmonization of standards to facilitate regional trade

EAST AFRICA – The East African Standards Committee (EASC) has during their 24th three-day meeting rooted for the harmonization of standards and elimination of barriers to allow goods and services to freely move within the region.

The meeting was attended by region National Standards Bodies Chief Executives aiming in facilitating trade within the East African Community (EAC) member states.

Representing United Republic of Tanzania on the issues related Standards, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing (SQMT) for cross border facilitation in the EAC region was the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Zanzibar Bureau of Standards (ZBS) and Weight and Measure Agency (WMA).

”Each country might be having its own interests as far as their economy and welfare of its people is concerned, but at one point you need to focus on the region as a whole,” said Dr. Ngenya, Director General (TBS).

The Director underscored the importance of having harmonized standards in fostering trade across the region and promised to ensure Tanzania through TBS is adopting harmonized standards on time.

”The EAC population is fast growing with the latest entrance of DRC, hence the need of convening such meetings with the view of harmonizing our standards,” he stated.

Backing Dr. Ngenya, Mr. David Livingston Ebiru, the Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), asserted that it was vital to harmonize the standards, to enable the EAC to have a vast market guided by standards. This will ensure the safety and quality of goods produced.

On her part, EAC Principal Standards Officer, Stella Apolot disclosed that both, the SQMT Act of 2006 and the Meteorology Act were in the offing to enhance trade and promotion of production of quality products in the region.

“For instance, the Meteorology Act is coming to guide the integration process as far as areas of health and communication are concerned,” she explained.

Apolot however decried the nominal participation of some partner states in the EASC, urging the bureau executives to address the situation.

The players from the bureau of standards in the six partner states came together to harmonize standards and push for mutual recognition of quality marks in products across the region.

During the three-day meeting, the quality and standard experts considered the progress reports from the EAC established technical sub-committees.

It also considered the work plan for the 2022/2023 geared to provide conducive environment of cross border trade in the EAC region.

The committee appointed Eng. Yona Afrika Mwampagatwa from Tanzania Bureau of Standards as the Chairperson of Standards Management Committee (SMC) and Mr. Jerome Ndahimana from Rwanda Bureau of Standards as Secretary of SMC.

The two will serve for a period of three years effective from April 2023.

The meeting further recommended Eng. Yona Afrika Mwampagatwa from Tanzania to represent the EAC secretariat in the African Organisation for Standardisation Standards Management Committee (ARSO/SMC).

Among the 41 harmonization Technical Committees (TCs), Tanzania will host 13 TCs while Rwanda – 4 TCs, Kenya – 12 TCs, Burundi – 1 TC and Uganda- 11 TCs.

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