The Minister for Industry and Trade Hon. Dr. Abdallah Kigoda has expressed the need for exchange programmes between experts from Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) in order to share information and expertise with the aim of improving the capabilities of the two organizations.

Dr. Kigoda made the call recently in Dar es Salaam, during a courtesy visit of 10 Nigerian delegates at the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The delegates included members of National Assembly of Nigeria, Senators and SON officials.

The Minister said Tanzania is aware that Nigeria has a very strong standards organization with several branches and laboratories, adding that TBS experts can benefit much if attached at SON.

“We believe we can learn a lot from you during the implementation of such programme and this visit has opened a new page of collaboration which will be a continuous process,” he said.

Furthermore, Dr. Kigoda said Tanzania and Nigeria should be at the front line to strengthen the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) by ensuring African Standards are harmonized so as to promote trade within the African Region.

“You may put emphasis on typical African products and traditional goods like dried vegetables, potatoes and other products so as to raise the economy of our people,” Dr. Kigoda added.

On her part, the Head of the Delegation, Senator Nenadi Usman said their visit to Tanzania was aimed at sharing ideas in standardization matters. She also said they came to learn from Tanzania on the fight against substandard goods since Nigeria was also about to review its Standards Act to match with current demands.

Speaking on the need for African countries to take stern measures against substandard products imported from the Far East, Senator Usman said “The rate of trade between Africa and Asia is growing but we have to make sure that substandard goods are not allowed in order to protect our people and our industries.”

Meanwhile, addressing TBS Management, Senator Usman called for enhanced trade between Tanzania and Nigeria, saying she would one day want to see products made in Tanzania in the Nigerian market as well as products made in Nigeria in the Tanzanian market.

On his part, SON Director General and Acting ARSO President, Mr. Joseph Odowudu noted opportunities for collaboration between SON and TBS, including laboratory services and support for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs), stressing: “… We share the same challenges and in some areas we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can collaborate and share solutions.”

Speaking at the same gathering, the former Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Industry and Trade, Hon. Mahmoud Mgimwa stressed the importance of unity and investment among African countries, saying, “The major challenge facing Africans is to unite, to do business between our countries and to invest in each other’s countries. Otherwise we will be preparing for new colonization.”

Earlier in his brief report on TBS, the Acting Director General of the Bureau, Mr. Leandri Kinabo mentioned some of the challenges facing the Bureau, the major ones being poor awareness on standardization and quality assurance among the public, inadequate resources and unstable financial base.

Mr. Kinabo mentioned some future plans as strengthening the Packaging Technology Centre, ensuring accreditation of all laboratories, acquiring sufficient staff, acquiring sufficient state-of-the-art equipment, opening more border offices, establishing zonal offices, certification of SMEs products.

The Nigerian delegation made up of 10 people comprising three senators, four members of the House of Representative and three SON officers including the Director General visited TBS with the purpose of learning about the Standards Act 2009, TBS operations, Pre-shipment Verification of Conformity to Standards (PVoC) and testing facilities.

During their three-day visit in Tanzania between 14th and 16th February, 2013, the delegation also visited the Parliamentary Office in Dar es Salaam where they exchanged ideas with the Parliamentary Committee on Industry and Trade. They also visited the Dar es Salaam Port and TBS offices at Ubungo and Samora.