Deputy Managing Director of Goodwill Tanzania Ceramic Company Limited, Robin Huang said in Dar es Salaam last week that his company has been exporting tiles to Kenya and other East African Community countries for many years.
“Our tiles are of high quality and meet TBS standards but were rejected by Kenya because they use different standards compared to Tanzania,” Huang said while clarifying on remarks made by Controller and Auditor General’s latest report which blamed Tanzania Bureau of Standards for failure to ensure locally made products meet standards.
He said in addition, tit-for-tat trade blockades being impose by authorities in Dodoma and Nairobi also contributed to the blockade which bore all the hallmarks of political orientation.
“It was an unfortunate incident which we have since sorted out with support from authorities,” the Goodwill Tanzania Deputy Managing Director added noting that after rejection, TBS did test samples of the tiles and found them to be genuine.
He urged EAC governments to move quickly and harmonise standards for manufactured goods in the region to avoid creating barriers against intra-regional trade.
“I just hope that East African governments will address this issue of standards because it’s a non-tariff barrier causing inconveniences to businesses,” he lamented while expressing hope that efforts are being made through East African Business Council to address many NTBs hindering trade growth in the bloc.
In his latest report, Controller and Auditor General, Professor Mussa Assad said Tanzania Bureau of Standards’ procedure in enforcing standards of manufactured goods locally is wanting after tiles manufactured by Goodwill Tanzania were rejected entry into Kenya last year.
The report stated that between September 2017 and May 2018, Goodwill’s tiles were found substandard by authorities in Kenya hence denied entry into the East African Community member market.
“These products failed quality tests as per KEBS/HQ/QAS/18 of 18 July, 2018. Thirty of the 31 trucks which carried the substandard tiles were blocked but during inspection by TBS, they were not found with TBS marks and were found at different locations,” the CAG report stated.
The report further noted that under the 2009 Standards Act, it empowers TBS to certify, license and conduct regular inspections at products manufacturing premises and shop outlets. “This is done through impromptu inspections at markets and factories for domestic manufacturers,” stated the CAG report while noting that under 2017 regulations, the bureau is also sanctioned to take relevant action against defaulters.
Warning that TBS negligence jeopardises efforts to export manufactured goods to the EAC market, the CAG noted that such substandard goods risk a backlash from consumers in the five regional bloc’s markets.