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ISO's Steele wants govt support in boosting standards

13th December 2012
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Rob Steele, ISO Secretary-General

The government has been urged to improve its commitment to the development of standards of various products and services in order increase income and livelihood of her people.

This was said yesterday in Dar es Salaam by the International Standard Organisation (ISO) secretary general Rob Steele soon after he toured the offices of Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Steele, who arrived in Dar es Salaam on Saturday from Switzerland, met with the Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Abadallah Kigoda, stakeholders in standards development and the TBS management.

He told members of the press that standards play a crucial role in the development of the economy and the people hence there is a need to bolster this crucial area.

“Tanzania is a member to various economic blocs such as East African Community (EAC) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). You have to make sure that for your products to win those markets and beyond, they have to be of high quality,” he said.

There are various important areas which the government and other bodies related to standards could start looking at together, he said.

Citing, he said, development of agricultural products quality is one that needs commitment.

“I advise that the government should look at the market access of those products, increase value addition and improve food security,” he suggested.

However, Steele commended Tanzania for its involvement in various issues patterning to standards: “You are doing fine in increasing the level of participation in improving standards as compared to other countries in East Africa,” he added.

Even though, he urged the government to increase its support to the TBS to enable it operate in a modern way and serve more consumers.

The government should increase the resources it provides to the bureau so as to make it increase its scope of services to customers.

He asked Tanzanians to help alleviate the amount of substandard products in the market by purchaning quality goods certified by relevant bodies.

“Before you buy anything you have first to consider standards which would make your products stay longer and avoid damage,” he advised.

Opening a seminar on “Benefits of Standardisation for Competitive Trade” organised by the TBS to raise public awareness on international standards, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Industries and Trade Joyce Mapunjo, said Tanzania appreciates ISO assistance given in various areas and called for continued support to enable the country and the developing world at large to effectively compete in international trade.

“Based on Tanzania’s needs and experience, my government would like to partner With ISO in various areas including the development of standardisation and quality assurance policy as well as in capacity building,” she said.

Other priority areas according to the PS include catalysing regional cooperation in standardisation, quality assurance and conformity assessment regime.

Steele, who is also scheduled to visit four other African countries left yesterday for Nairobi, Kenya where he is scheduled to meet various government officials and standards stakeholders.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN