TANZANIA – The Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has revealed that it has over the past five years issued standard mark licenses to 1,000 small scale entrepreneurs in the country, as part of its initiative to develop small industries in Tanzania.
Speaking at the Nanenane central zone exhibition grounds in Dodoma, the Bureau’s Marketing Officer, Deborah Haule said that the certified entrepreneurs went through the Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO).
Over the 2017/2018 period, TBS granted licenses to 54 entrepreneurs, 50 entrepreneurs in 2018/2019, 211 entrepreneurs in 2019/2020, 365 entrepreneurs in 2020/2021 and 320 entrepreneurs in 2021/2022.
To obtain the product quality mark, applicants must submit an application through the electronic system (i-SQMT) available on the TBS website.
“After the application is completed, the date of the initial inspection is arranged. The manufacturer is required to be in production on the day of the initial inspection, and samples are taken to the TBS laboratories and tested to see if the product meets the requirements of the relevant standard,” Haule said.
Subsequent to the completion of the assessment, the applicant receives the feedback and if successful, they receive a license to use TBS mark on their products.
Speaking about the costs related to the licenses, the TBS Marketing Officer explained that each year the government sets aside funds to serve small and medium entrepreneurs, when they request for certification services.
The entrepreneurs get this service for free, but on the fourth year they are required to pay 25% of the cost, on fifth year 50%, sixth year 75% and on the seventh year onwards they will pay 100%.
The Business Development Officer from SIDO Dodoma, Chrispine Kapinga, urged entrepreneurs to register with TBS to be able to easily penetrate the market with standard goods.
TBS also used the exhibition platform to educate various groups of people including entrepreneurs, students, farmers and the general public on the need to buy certified goods with TBS quality mark as a way to fight low quality goods in the country.
“We provided education to visitors during the Nanenane exhibitions held at Ngongo grounds on quality standards and various procedures needed to certify goods,” Amina Yasin, TBS Southern Zone Manager said.
She said most of the visitors who benefitted from TBS education on quality standards were small scale manufacturers who were informed on how to obtain quality standards mark.
“We insisted on the need for entrepreneurs to observe quality standards in producing goods,” she said adding that for entrepreneurs who are already recognized by SIDO the process can start immediately.
SIDO was established in October 1973 as a parastatal organisation under the now Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, with an objective to develop the small industry sector in Tanzania.
It was expected to fulfill a very wide range of functions, from policy formulation to direct support to industries, to hands-on involvement in the establishment of SMEs in both rural and urban areas.