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March 30, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Tanzania to Require Licenses for Lube Importers

Tanzania will require lubricant importers to obtain licenses beginning in May, as part of an effort to stem the flow of substandard products, a government official said.

Importers of lubricants to Tanzania will have to obtain import permit licenses from the Tanzania Bureau of Standards, said Tanzanian Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment Charles Mwijage. According to the minister, the new directive aims to stem the rising incidence of substandard lubricants in the country.

Rhoida Andasumile, public relations manager for the TBS, confirmed that the new measure is to “ensure that only quality products enter into the Tanzania lubricant market.” The agency has not yet determined implementation guidelines for the permit licensing, according to Andasumile.

Tanzania has an existing inspection system also intended to ensure the quality of lubricants entering the country, she explained. The Pre-shipment Verification of Conformity regulation, implemented by the bureau in February 2012, appointed three global inspection and certification services firms – SGS, Intertek, and Bureau Veritas – to certify that all base oil and lubricant shipments comply with Tanzanian standards before being imported into the country.

“Currently, we have contracted SGS and Bureau Veritas for the job. They normally issue a certificate known as certificate of conformity for inspected products including [engine oil]. Local products are also checked by TBS to ensure the products are in compliance with acceptable standards,” said Andasumile.

Irfan Khan, general manager for Tanzanian operations of General Petroleum, described the license requirement as a welcome additional step.

“It is a good development, and we are in support of TBS because we want to rid Tanzania of substandard lubricants,” said Khan. “We are together with the TBS in insisting that only legitimate and genuine importers and blenders should be allowed to import lubricants. This is because a lot of smugglers are using illegal routes to bring substandard lubricants to Tanzania.”

Samir Manik, group head of sales and marketing for Oilcom Ltd. Tanzania, concurred, stressing that the new requirement will create an advantage for local blenders and increase their sales, especially for legitimate players on the Tanzanian lubricant market.

“I agree that granting import licenses to importers of lubricants in Tanzania will ensure automatic control on duplicate and substandard lubes on the market, and this will also create opportunities for the locals by creating job opportunities for the people,” Manik noted.