The regulatory capacity of the state in post-liberalization period: a case of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS)

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study sets to examine the capacity of the Tanzanian state to regulate the quality of products in the post liberalization period. In so doing the study explores the capacity of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and the extent to which the agency has been able to effectively prevent substandard products from entering the Tanzanian market. The study is premised on two basic assumptions. The first assumption is that the Legal framework within which TBS operates undermines its capacity in quality control. Secondly, the technology, i.e. human, financial and material resources, available to TBS affects the level of its performance. The findings of this study firmly confirm these assumptions. On the legal framework, the study reveals that the Act under which TBS was established gives it too much responsibility than what the agency can actually deliver. It further reveals that there is no clear demarcation of powers between TBS and other state regulatory agencies thus affecting coordination between them. Moreover, the current structure of TBS is highly centralized and does not reflect a national character. The study further observes that TBS as a regulating agency has not transformed itself much to its resources with the organization's responsibility in the light of the post-liberalization challenges. On the basis of these findings the study concludes that the capacity of the state in regulating the quality of products is still weak due to the fact that nothing has substantially been done to improve the capacity of the agency specifically dealing with product quality regulation. There are no significant changes that have been made in the law to suit the emerging developments after liberaralization. At worst, there are shortages in human, financial and material resources. The thesis recommends, therefore, that the Standards Act be reviewed so that, among other things, the functions and powers of TBS are redefined in more clear and specific terms. The study further proposes that the structure of TBS be decentralized i.e. establishment of zonal/regional branches and the state should increase its resource allocation to the agency.
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Tanzania, Economic condition, Consumer protection, Product safety, Law and legislation, Quality of products, Tanzania Bureau of Standards
Jones, F. (2002) The regulatory capacity of the state in post-liberalization period: a case of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (