39 years on, TBS goes stronger each passing day

Thirty-nine years of humble beginning and tremendous growth, the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) management has shown the spirit and drive to restore public confidence in the country's sole standards regulator.

The standards watchdog administration has undertaken bold measures to ensure that the local market is freed of substandard goods.

With good cooperation from the workers, the management under Director General Joseph Masikitiko has firmly implemented the already existing quality assurance machinery, namely the batch certification scheme through Pre-shipment Verification of Conformity to Standards (PVoC) and Destination Inspection (DI) and TBS Mark Certification Scheme.

Furthermore, the management has enhanced the promotion and implementation of the Standards Act No. 2 of 2009.

One success story is that the Bureau has already recorded an increase in applications for standards mark certification, a rise in the number of certificates of conformity (CoC), an increase in products seizures and premises closures due to non-adherence to quality procedures; and an increase in incidents of destruction of substandard products.

The public, too, has showered praise on the Bureau in its efforts to cleanse the market of counterfeits.

One key strategy that the new TBS management has employed in transforming the state-run institution into a dependable tool in waging a relentless campaign against inferior products is the strengthening of the workers’ commitment towards the realisation of corporate goals.

This has been achieved through enhanced corporate communication, requisition and accommodation of workers’ view obtained from various forums.

The guiding principle towards the realization of the Bureau’s key objectives is that “the management isn’t about to retire in its pain to achieve its set objectives. The ambition is to restore TBS image to make it realize its dream of making the country’s standards watchdog an organization that is nationally and internationally distinguished as the centre of excellence in standardization and quality assurance activities.

The management has won support from the parent Ministry of Industry and Trade under Minister Dr Abdallah Omari Kigoda’s guidance.

The minister has tasked the TBS Board of Directors under Prof Cuthbert Mhilu to ensure that the Bureau performs to the public’s expectation by improving its corporate image.

“TBS is there for a purpose and since its establishment in 1975, it has been playing a great role in standardization issues. The organization needs to be well focused due to its importance to the society,” Dr Kigoda said at the launch of the Board of Directors in March last year.

To attain its corporate goals, the Bureau has been maintaining close cooperation with such bodies as the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority, Fair Competition Commission, National Consumers Association Council and the police force to fight the menace of counterfeits and substandard products in the local market.

The Bureau’s mission is to inculcate awareness into, and promote adoption of standardization and quality assurance by the industry and commerce sectors with a view to complementing national efforts to offer products of better quality and higher competitive edge on both the internal and external markets with the overall objective of promoting the availability of good and safe products for the Tanzanian public and enhancing economic development.

In line with the National Development Vision 2025, TBS’s Vision is to be the centre of excellence as far as standardization and quality assurance activities are concerned.

Tanzania, which has won international recognition in the fight against substandard goods, has come a long way in search for quality and standardization, and still it has many more kilometres to go in the journey towards attaining excellence.

The issue of product quality and international standards was hitherto taken lightly and casually not only in Tanzania but also in many other developed and developing nations. The trend is rapidly changing to give way to a new dispensation of intentional standards awareness and quality consciousness.

Now Tanzanians have been awakened by the reality of how international standards could determine the fate of their country’s economy.