Tanzania imports between 30,000 and 40,000 units of cars annually, most of which are used from Japan and Dubai therefore requiring inspection which costs Sh350,000 per unit.
Dar es Salaam. The decision by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) that the inspection of motor vehicles being imported into the country should be conducted at the point of entry will earn Tanzania up to Sh9.02 billion per year, data shows.
Tanzania imports between 30,000 and 40,000 vehicles per year, TBS’ quality control director Lazaro Msasalaga revealed yesterday.
Under earlier arrangements, a vehicle importer paid $150 (about Sh350,000) as inspection fee in the exporting country. This suggests that every year, Tanzanian vehicle importers paid between Sh10.5 billion and Sh14 billion for inspection purposes only.
According to Mr Msasalaga, TBS would keep only 30 percent of the money, with the remainder going to the firm that conducts the inspection. By conducting inspections outside the country, Tanzania was losing between Sh7.35 billion and Sh9.8 billion annually.
Mr Msasalaga said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that Tanzania has decided to inspect all imported vehicles at the Dar es Salaam port starting on March 1 this year.
“This process started way back in 2002 when TBS took over the mandate after it came to our attention that a majority of imported vehicles were entering the country without being inspected. We had to make use of agents to conduct the inspections before shipment abroad. The agents were selected through tenders,” he said.
According to him, the move helped to ensure that all vehicles that were imported into the country after 2002 were in good condition. Maintenance would be conducted on those that would have been found to be faulty before being shipped to Tanzania.
He said that they have been renewing contracts of their agents every three years. Currently they were using one agent in Dubai and three based in Japan whose contracts are expected to end soon.
TBS was currently expanding the vehicle storage yards at Dar es Salaam port to meet the requirements where the cars would be parked as they await inspection. According to him, they have set up 12 inspection machines on four vehicles for use in inspecting imported secondhand vehicles.
He stressed that all secondhand vehicles that would be imported as of March 1 this year are required to be inspected upon arrival at the Dar es Salaam port before they can be released out of Customs control.
The decision is the result of the government having built capacity to enable Tanzanians to inspect and undertake requisite maintenance of imported used vehicles.
“We have not formally terminated the contracts of our hired agents abroad, although their three-year terms have ended. In any case, it is prudent to start using our own inspectors,” he said - adding that the decision will create jobs and incomes for Tanzanians, as well as government revenues from the business.
Commenting on the charges, Mr Msasagala said the costs that were being incurred by importers of secondhand vehicles was $150 per vehicle. But the government will now charge $140 is inspection fee, and an additional Sh30,000 as service charge.
“We have put in place a procedure that is intended to ensure no port congestion is caused by the new inspection procedure. Imported vehicles will be off-loaded and directly taken to four separate yards for inspection and clearing by our agents before they can be released out of Customs control.
Small cars will be taken to a special roll-on, roll-off yard, while other vehicles will be taken to a yard knows as ‘Kitopeni Yard’ for similar action.
Larger vehicles will be taken to the ‘Copper’ and ‘Lighter’ yards - also for similar action.
“Any vehicle that will, on being inspected at the port, be found not to comply with the set requirements of quality will have to undergo repairs at a special yard outside the port. Thereafter, it will be taken for inspection at the UDA Yard adjacent to the Main Port Area before it can be cleared and allowed to ply our public roads,” he explained.
According to him, TBS will ensure that all used cars which are imported into the country fully comply with the set requirements for such vehicles before they can be allowed to go onto the roads.