Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) was established under the Ministry of Industry and Trade by an Act of Parliament, the Standards Act No.3 of 1975 as the National Standards Institute and became operational in April 1976.
It was subsequently renamed Tanzania Bureau of Standards through an amendment to the Act by Act No.1 of 1977. The Standards Act No. 3 was later repealed and replaced by the Standards Act No. 2 of 2009, which gave the Bureau more powers in carrying out its mandate.
The Bureau was established as part of the efforts by the government to strengthen the supporting institutional infrastructure for the industry and commerce sectors of the economy. Specifically, TBS was mandated to undertake measures for quality control of products of all descriptions and to promote standardization in industry and commerce.
Pursuant to Section 4 (1) of the Standards Act No. 2 of 2009, TBS has the following functions:
a) To undertake measures for quality control of commodities, services and environment of all descriptions and to promote standardization in industry and trade;
b) To make arrangements or provide facilities for the testing and calibration of precision instruments, gauges and scientific apparatus, for the determination of their degree of accuracy and traceability by comparison with standards approved by the Minister of Industry and Trade on the recommendation of the Board of Directors, and for issue of certificates in regard to them;
c) To make arrangements or provide facilities for the examination and testing of commodities and any material or substance from or with which, and the manner in which, they may be manufactured, produced, processed or treated;
d) To approve, register and control the use of standard marks in accordance with the provisions of the Standards Act;
e) To grant, renew, suspend, vary or cancel any license issued for the use of any standards mark;
f) To assist industries in setting up and enforcing quality assurance and environmental management systems procedures;
g) To prepare, frame, modify or amend National Standards;
h) To encourage or undertake educational work in connection with standardization, quality assurance, metrology, testing and environment;
i) To assist the Government or any other person in the preparation and framing of standards;
j) To co-operate with other Government agencies, representatives of any industry or any other statutory corporation or person with a view to securing the adoption and practical application of standards;
k) To provide for the inspection, sampling and testing of locally manufactured and imported commodities with a view to determining whether the commodities comply with the provisions of the Standards Act or any other law dealing with standards relevant to those commodities;
l) To act as the custodian of the National Measurement Standards of weights and measures and from time to time adjust, replace or cancel any standards where the adjustment, replacement or cancellation is necessary for the maintenance of conformity to the international standards;
m) To be the signatory of the mutual recognition arrangement with other national metrology institutes;
n) To collect, publish and disseminate literature and other materials on standardization and other related subjects and to provide facilities for the members of the public to have access to the materials;
o) To carry-out, promote or assist in research on standardization and related subjects;
p) To participate in, or to make arrangements for conferences, workshops, seminars and discussions on matters connected with the activities of the Bureau;
q) To co-operate with regional and international organizations in all matters related to standardization and quality assurance and represent the country in such matters;
r) To publish from time to time an updated version of a National Standard for the quantities and units of measurement to be used, which shall be in conformity with the latest version of the International System of Units;
s) To undertake pre-shipment verification conformity (PVoC) to standards; and
t) To do all other acts and things, and enter into any transactions, which are, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, expedient or necessary for the proper and efficient discharge of the functions of the Bureau.
In the performance of its functions the Bureau keeps an eye on the health, safety, environment and general welfare of the people of the United Republic; and maintains, as far as may be practicable, a system of consultation and co-operation with any body established by or under any written law and having functions similar or relating to industrial or commercial standards generally.