LAST Sunday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa demanded an apology from managers of the Minjingu Mines and Fertilizers Limited for labeling its products as ‘foreign’ manufactured; by extension, such claims amount to saying they ‘imported’ it from a foreign land.
The premier said it was wrong to label fertiliser bags from the Minjingu plant as ‘Made in Kenya’ or ‘Made in Uganda’ or any other country where the products are alleged to have been exported. Labeling, experts in standardisation say, is a key promotional strategy aimed at awarding industries manufacturing premium quality products and those engaged in offering services.
Its objective is to provide a platform for Tanzanian consumers to patronize locally-made products and also encourage local service industries to make significant improvements in service quality, service delivery and innovation to meet challenges of attaining international standards.
The criteria for promoting the manufacturing industry is based on five parameters that demonstrate overall product premium quality: Labeling, packaging, competitiveness and standard certification offering a point of difference from competitors.
Indeed, ‘Made-in-Tanzania’ is a slogan initiated to promote the consumption of locally-made products. The rationale is to increase exports and reduce import surplus. The more the country sells a lot of the stuff locally-produced to other countries, the more balance of trade it’s likely to achieve.
But, once imports exceed exports it creates the trade deficit. In order to change the unfavourable balance of trade or payment, manufacturers must be committed to promoting ‘Made-in- Tanzania’ strategy. The strategy is designed to promote both local investment and inward investment (or direct foreign investment).
This is the main gateway to do away with the trade deficit that Tanzania faces today. There’s a need for raising awareness perhaps to all Tanzanians the importance of prioritizing locally-made products. Ostensibly, most Tanzanians are still unaware of the benefits.
This calls for the need to mobilize them to change their mindset about locally-manufactured products. There’s a wrong presupposition that foreign products are better than domestic products.
This belief must be discarded if Tanzania wants to move towards prosperity. For the economy to be revitalized, the catalyst is to prioritize locally-made products over foreign products.
Tanzania’s philosophy isn’t neither to stifle the East African Community regional integration objective, nor to discourage Tanzanians from consuming products or services from EAC partner states.