Q&A – 8 October 2018

Registration requirements for homemade potato crisps

I make homemade crisps that I pack and sale to supermarkets. Do I need any approvals as I am a small-scale house wife type operator? Just like the Mama Ntilie’s I do not have any TRA registration at the moment and don’t intend to get one. What do you suggest?
KF, Dar

We are aware that there are many such informal businesses in Tanzania, some of them now quite large and doing reasonably well. Tax registration under our Tax Administration Act is mandatory for such a business as is getting a business licence. As soon as you are selling goods to customers, that becomes a taxable event, no matter how small you claim your business to be. Much as it is something that very few people in your category comply with, we recommend that you do so.

Another required approval is from the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) which is established under section 4 of the Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 2003. TFDA operates as an agency in regulating and controlling of food, drugs and cosmetics in Tanzania. Section 28 of the Act stipulates that no person shall manufacture, import, distribute, sell or expose for sale pre-packaged food unless that food or food product has been registered by the Authority.

Apart from that, the Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (Registration of Foods) Regulations number 207 of 2011 restricts the sale of unregistered food products. It also provides for the procedure for application of registration of prepackaged food and it makes it mandatory for the application to be accompanied with the sample of food. After being satisfied that the food product complies with the requirements, the Authority will grant a certificate of registration.

Since you haven’t told us how large your business is, then depending on the number of employees you have, there might be a need to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, better known as OSHA. This law deals with safety and health management actions, taking all measures possible to protect employees from illness or injury, and educating employees on workplace health and safety measures amongst others.

Husband dictates naming of children

I am a married woman living in Dar. My husband and I are educated and work in the public sector. God has blessed us with three Children and we soon expect our fourth child as I am pregnant.  Unfortunately, my husband has been the only one giving names to our children and he has always done so using names of his clan. He has even chosen a name for the child we expect which has resulted into arguments as I would like to name this child. Is there a law that governs naming of children? Please guide.
OL, Mwanza

The law of Child Act, Act No. 21 of 2009 under Section 6 provides that a child shall have a right to a name, nationality and to know his biological parents and extended family. It provides further that a person shall not deprive a child of the right to a name, nationality and to know his biological parents and members of extended family subject to the provisions of any other written laws. Also each parent or guardian shall be responsible for the registration of the birth of his child to the Registrar-General. 

Unfortunately, there is no law that dictates whether the father or mother should name the child. There is also no case law for us to guide you on. We suggest you get some elders to sit with you and resolve this. You might be able to resolve this dispute in Court, but the Court system is back logged and by the time your dispute is resolved, you might already have delivered.

Directors’ names on company letterhead

I have established an information technology company and have already started business. Is it a requirement of the law that every company should have a letterhead? What should be the contents in the said letterhead? I find this to be expensive to print and thus looking at ways of avoiding this. What should I do?
GJ, Dar

You will certainly need letterheads when you are writing formal letters and hence are unsure what you really mean. Printing letterheads is not expensive and you always have the option of printing letterheads directly from your printer.

On the contents of the letterheads, section 213 of the Companies Act provides that every company shall, in all business documentation on or in which the company’s name appears and which is issued or sent by the company to any person in any part of the territory, state in legible letters with respect to every director being a corporation, the corporate name, and with respect to every director being an individual, the following particulars (a) his present name, or the initials thereof, and present surname; (b) any former names and surnames: Provided that, if special circumstances exist which render it in the opinion of the Registrar expedient that such an exemption should be granted, the Registrar may by order grant, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the order, exemption from all or any of the obligations imposed.

Also if a company defaults in complying with this requirement, every officer of the company who is in default shall be liable on conviction for each offence to a fine, and for the purposes of this subsection, where a corporation is an officer of the company, any officer of the corporation shall be deemed to be an officer of the company. The expression ”director” includes any person in accordance with whose directions or instructions the directors of the company are accustomed to act and the expression ”officer” shall be construed accordingly. The expression ”initials” includes a recognized abbreviation of a name.

We must point out that a lot of the companies in Tanzania fail to comply with the explicit provisions of the Companies Act which provides that on letterheads name of directors amongst other must be mentioned.