CONSULTATIONS for the Consumer Protection Bill are expected to begin soon as government yesterday launched the Bill that will protect consumers.
Speaking at the launch of the Draft Consumer Protection Bill, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the Bill had been long awaited to safeguard the interests of consumers.
“Since independence in 1980, we have not had a comprehensive Consumer Protection Act. Instead, we had pieces of legislation that are implemented through line ministries to protect and advance interests of consumers,” Bimha said.
Bimha said the Bill seeks to promote a fair, efficient and transparent marketplace for consumers and business, to promote consumer rights to basic needs, to provide for improved standards of consumer information, to prohibit unfair competition, marketing and business practices.
The Bill will establish the Consumer Protection Commission, a body that will be capable of suing and being sued in its corporate name and subject to the Act, of performing all acts that bodies corporate may by law perform.
The commission shall have a chief executive officer, representatives from Environmental Management Agency, farmers’ associations, Competition and Tariff Commission, Standard Association of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum, industry and commerce, among others.
The commission will co-ordinate and network consumer activities and liaise with consumer organisations, promote fair business practices, protect consumers from unconscionable, unreasonable, unjust or otherwise, regulate the formation of some consumer protection bodies for specific sectors and have an oversight on sector-specific bodies established under the Constitution.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said: “The consultations will take three to four months to do our rounds for the eight consultative workshops countrywide. We will have meetings in the places that Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has offices.”
Siyachitema said they would interact with consumers on social media and will learn from the South African experience which already has legislation in place to protect consumers.