TBS gets 1.1bn/- machine to fight fuel cheats

The Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has acquired equipment that speedily determines whether fuel has been adulterated.

Industry and Trade minister Abdallah Kigoda (pictured in balck suit) commissioned the $700,000 (Sh1.12 billion) machine at TBS headquarters yesterday.

TBS acting director Joseph Masikitiko said acquisition of the equipment was an important step in efforts to rid the country of fuel adulteration and substandard fuel.

He said the machine provided an accurate analysis of fuel samples in about two hours.

Fuel samples were previously sent to Mombasa, Kenya, and it took at least three days to get results, with TBS paying $250 (Sh400,000) for every sample tested.

“The installation of this machine in our chemical laboratory is a milestone achievement for TBS because we will save money and time and increase efficiency in fuel analysis,” Mr Masikitiko said.

He added that TBS was now able to test petrol, diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel and establish whether they are of the required quality.

The machine will also be used to test fuel other countries import through Tanzania and earn the country foreign exchange.

“This machine will enable TBS to generate foreign exchange through payments made by countries which import fuel through Tanzania,” Mr Masikitiko said.

TBS board chairman Cuthbert Mhilu said the bureau’s vision was to be the leading standards watchdog in East and Central Africa by 2015.

He said TBS was improving its equipment and hiring qualified experts.

Dr Kigoda urged TBS to strengthen cooperation with other watchdogs like the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority and Surface and Marine Transport Authority.“The aim of the government is to make sure that counterfeit and low quality products don’t cross our borders,” he said.

Dr Kigoda directed TBS to ensure that goods produced by small and medium enterprises were of the required standard.

He said he doubted whether the many SME products bearing the TBS logo had been approved by the bureau. “You have the challenge of monitoring SMEs because most of them don’t have recognised addresses due to the nature of their operations,” Dr Kigoda said.

The acquisition of the machine makes Tanzania only the second country in East and Central Africa to have such a facility after Kenya.

However, the machine in Dar es Salaam is much more advanced than the one in Mombasa.

Tanzania has for several years been grappling with fuel adulteration as crooked dealers seek to maximise profits. Motorists and other consumers using diesel were especially hard-hit as the mixing of the fuel with cheaper kerosene was widespread.

The government responded by steeply increasing kerosene prices in 2011 to bring them at par with those of diesel.

In 2010, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority entered into a Sh9.6 billion agreement with a Canadian firm to mark fuel as part of efforts to curb adulteration.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Anuciatha Lucas and Alex Malanga From Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Share on Google Plus

About Abduel Elinaza

This is a short description in the author block about the author. You edit it by entering text in the "Biographical Info" field in the user admin panel.