For many years Zanzibar has been recognized as a commercial center in East and even Central Africa. Through decades of her history though many businesses were conducted within the islands including industrial products, Zanzibar did not introduce an authority to deal with standards and standardization of goods and quality assurance. In 1980s the revolutionary government of Zanzibar introduced trade liberalization policy which provided opportunity for private sector to engage in trade as well as manufacturing services. Since then manufacturing subsector has been fluctuating in terms of number of industries and factories as well as volume of production. Imports have been increasing overtime with slow rate of manufacturing for local consumption and export. This phenomenon has caused many substandard and counterfeit goods flooded in Zanzibar market.
That trend has not been very conducive for manufacturing and trade competition in the country. This is one of the hindrances for Zanzibar economic growth as well as contributing to challenges in terms of safety and health problems. The counter actions are well addressed in both Zanzibar Development Vision (ZDV) 2020 and Zanzibar Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (MKUZA II). The Zanzibar Trade Policy (2006) also elaborated the need of standardization and quality assurance. To meet that purpose, the House of Representative enacted the Zanzibar Standard Act No.1 of 2011 to establish Zanzibar Bureau of Standards (ZBS). Towards the end of 2012, the ZBS established and now is in operation
ZBS being new institution in Zanzibar established in late 2012 started to build foundation through institutional and legal framework where some regulations drafted to support its law during operation
ZBS developed its five years Strategic Plan which will guide its operation. The Strategic Plan indicates the needs to put in place the building infrastructure for office and laboratories with state of the art equipments. Also the capacity building for the staff so that they can perform their works based on modern techniques and professionalism. The strategic Plan requires about TZS 19.5 billion in the coming five years to implement the planned targets and activities.
On the other hand, the Bureau has recruited 11 technical staff and acquires 9 supporting staff transferred from other government departments. During the financial year 2013/2014, the Bureau expects to recruit another batch of 15 technical staff.
ZBS has started to implement training programme to build capacity to her all staff. The training programme has short, medium to long term plans.
ZBS made major rehabilitation of the building provided by Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA) at Amani Industrial Park. Some working facilities supplied in the building. It is therefore, ZBS currently located at Amani Industrial Park with its plan to develop its permanent offices and laboratories at Maruhubi area.
ZBS website developed and updated with related information. This is one of planned communication and information sharing tool kit with stakeholders. Also ZBS Local Area network (LAN) installed and operationalized.
ZBS has been introduced to various local, national, regional and international organizations. This is very significant in terms of knowledge and experience sharing.