TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania has set aside about tsh 200 million (U.S$ 85,237) to enable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to obtain standards verification free of charge for the first three years of operation.

The Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) Director General, Mr. Athuman Ngenya said SMEs will start paying for the verification process fees gradually at 25 percent after the first three years and eventually 100 percent in the seventh year.

“The government has allocated this amount of money per year as operational costs…entrepreneurs should come forward for the exercise,” he was quoted saying during a television programme.

However, he suggested that the SMEs take part in training sessions sponsored by TBS and the Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) to learn how to improve the quality of their products, stay competitive, and make the verification process easier.

The training program that will be run by SIDO will emphasize generating high-quality goods while raising standards awareness to satisfy TBS requirements.

SIDO was established in October 1973 as a parastatal organization 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.

The SMEs are provided with a free quality mark of standards after submitting an introduction letter from SIDO.

“After the training, SIDO will issue a letter to acknowledge the entrepreneurs’ participation in TBS in order to start product verification procedures,” said Mr. Ngenya.

The quality mark of standards is fundamental in creating confidence in consumers that the products they want to buy are safe and have met the required standards.

TBS was created as part of the government’s efforts to improve the institutional framework that supports the industry and commerce sectors of the economy.

It is specifically required to implement procedures for product quality control of all sorts and to advance standardization in business and industry.

The regulator 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.

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.

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