The Minister for Industry and Trade, Hon. Dr. Abdallah Kigoda has urged Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to provide necessary technical assistance to Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) and ensure that their products are certified so as to enable them to flourish.

Dr. Kigoda, who was speaking during a familiarization tour at TBS’s head office in Dar es Salaam, said SMEs are growing fast and have an enormous contribution to the national economy, but their biggest challenge is quality, and especially quality packaging.

“The biggest challenge facing SMEs is packaging.  Without quality packaging they cannot sell,” said Dr. Kigoda, adding that it is upon TBS to give the SMEs the packaging know-how and also to ensure that their products are certified.

The Minister noted the role of TBS is crucial more especially now when the nation is undergoing reforms in industrial, commercial, marketing and economic sectors. He said as the private sector becomes the engine for economic growth, standardization gains more importance in the future and sustainability of the country’s economy.

Earlier in his welcoming speech, the Chairperson of the TBS Board of Directors, Mr. Oliver Mhaiki said quality is the backbone for the growth and sustainability of local industries.

In a speech read by a member of the TBS Board of Directors, Ms. Suzy Laizer, the Chairman said standardization lays a foundation for competitiveness in local and international markets, adding: “This is the reason TBS has been striving to build quality awareness and consciousness among entrepreneurs and the general public.”

In his report to the Minister, the TBS Acting Director General, Mr. Leandri Kinabo said the Bureau is implementing a programme of visiting all industries in the country and that it has already visited 560 industries countrywide, most of them small and medium enterprises.

“In the past two years, 226 standards mark licences have been presented to small and medium scale enterprises, covering products such as wine, sunflower oil, honey, drinking water, soap and jam,” said Mr. Kinabo.

The visit by the Minister, who was accompanied by his deputy, Hon. Gregory Teu, was part of his familiarization tours to institutions under the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Minister and his Deputy were acquainted with the testing and calibration activities in various laboratories. The guests also had an audience with TBS staff.