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September 7, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Tanzania Closes Counterfeiting Ring

The Tanzanian Bureau of Standards shut down a lubricants manufacturer and confiscated substandard, counterfeit lubricants from distributors as a result of market surveillance and inspection efforts in the African country’s Ilala and Temeke districts.

TBS Public Relations Officer Rhoida Andusamile confirmed to a reporter that the bureau seized 21,587 liters of lubricating oil from distributors and shut down Temeke Battery and Lubricants, for manufacturing substandard, counterfeit lubricants in the Temeke district. Because the company has been shut down, it was not available for comment.

Andusamile emphasized that a 2009 standards law requires manufacturers, suppliers or sellers of substandard products to recall their products from the market at their own expense within 14 days.

“For this case, all manufactures, sellers and suppliers of the seized substandard lubricants were informed through the public notice to recall their products from the market,” said Andusamile.

However, she noted that the factory operators will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

“For the company or factory that has been closed for illegally packing lubricants using empty bottles of water, it will be penalized accordingly,” said Andusamile.

Stakeholders in the Tanzanian lubricant market have lauded the gain made by the bureau against producers of fake lubricants in the country.

Mubita Akapelwa, downstream consultant and a former managing director of Engen Tanzania, said that it is a welcome development for the market.

“It is helpful and should be integrated as part of a broader compliance strategy,” said Akapelwa. He noted that such market surveillance on its own “can only be so successful if it forms part of a broader compliance and governance strategy, including consumer education, appropriate legislation where applicable, and a robust – including import and distribution – licensing regime.”

Irfan Khan, general manager of General Petroleum’s Tanzanian operation, said that blenders in Tanzania are satisfied with the steps the TBS has taken in stemming the proliferation of substandard lubes in the country. He disclosed that the bureau had cautioned importers, distributors and manufacturers of lubricants to steer clear of substandard lubes or face the consequences, stressing that the crackdown was in collaboration with stakeholders, including lube manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and clearing agents.

“We are grateful to TBS for collaborating with all the stakeholders in the lubricant market chain in the fight against substandard lubricants, which does not only adversely impact the environment of our beautiful Tanzania but results in revenue loss to government,” said Khan.

The oils bore counterfeit labels of a number of global and African brands, including BP/Castrol, Total, Next Oil, Engen, Lubex, Mogas-Sentry and Cheetah.

They were labeled as engine oils as meeting the API SF and CD service categories. According to the American Petroleum Institute, SF oils are for 1988 and older gasoline engines. CD is considered not suitable for use in most diesel-powered automotive engines built after 1994.