Local industries use of foreign barcode system costing economy 195bn/- annually

13Jan 2016
Dickson Ng`hily
The Guardian
Local industries use of foreign barcode system costing economy 195bn/- annually

THE country is losing of at least 195bn/- per annum because more than 90 large scale industries are using foreign bar-coding systems for their products other than using the local system.

Thinking About Implementing a Bar Coding System

A Dar es Salaam based economist, Dr Charles Msologomi said apart from losing such huge sums of money, continued use of foreign barcodes system by local producers also leads to identity loss as such products lack original barcode marks.
According to him, successful business and trade requires certainty on the identity of products, assets, logistics and origins of such products. Further, businesses enjoys benefits for meeting basic minimum quality and standards for output.
“For any modern business to function properly, global standards such as barcode for identifying products and services, capturing and sharing information about products, the use of barcode shouldn’t be ignored,” he observed.
Dr Msologomi urged local businesses to make use of the local barcode system which will help them enjoy opportunities available in different markets including in East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and sensitive markets of European Union and the US’ African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“We Tanzania, have been told that we have not been fully utilising the opportunity provided by AGOA market, but to be honest, we have been using the market. The problem is that most of the local produces that enters that market are under Kenyan bar-coding system hence they are identified as Kenyan,” he explained.
For AGOA case, it provides performing African countries with the vibrant democracies access to the U.S market. AGOA also supports U.S. businesses by encouraging reform of Africa’s economic and commercial regimes which results in building stronger markets.
AGOA expands the list of products which are eligible from Sub-Saharan African countries at zero import duty under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) from approximately 4,600 items to 6,400 items.
In one of her presentations, FatmaKange, CEO with GS1 (T) Limited a local nonprofit organisation that deals with bar-coding said: “Standards are established specifications and procedures designed to maximize the reliability of the materials, products, methods, and/or services people use every day.
Kange said standards address a range of issues such as various trade protocols to help maximize product functionality and compatibility, facilitate interoperability and support consumer safety and public health.
It is said that standards form the fundamental building blocks for product development by establishing consistent protocols that can be universally understood and adopted.
“This helps fuel compatibility and interoperability and simplifies product development, and speeds time - to- market. Standards also make it easier to understand and compare competing products. As standards are globally adopted and applied in many markets, they also fuel international trade,” she noted.
Since August last year, the local bar-coding agency has manage to registered about 180 companies with over 2800 products and targets to cover more companies and products this year.
The introduction of the barcode has facilitated traceability, providing consumers information through its manufacturer, country of origin, expiration date and inventory number, in addition to complying with national and international standards.
“The use of barcode technology has boosted sales of domestic products in super markets, leading to increased production to meet the expansive demand,” said Kange.
GS1 (TZ) National is a Tanzanian registered company by guarantee registered by the business society in Tanzania as a way to improve traceability and add value to their products.
The company was registered under the auspices of the key collaboration between the Government of Tanzania and the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation, through the established GS1 Tanzania Board.

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