CABINET has approved the Consignment-Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) Programme amid concerns on the continuous influx of sub-standard products in the country, a government official has said.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
Speaking at the relaunch of the Consignment-Based Conformity Assessment Programme, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the engagement of French company Bureau Veritas which will be offering conformity services for the next four years was an interim measure of addressing the sub-standard imports whilst the establishment of the Zimbabwe Quality Standards Regulatory Authority was being finalised.
“The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is therefore re-launching the CBCA programme whose roll out had been postponed due to some administrative and technical issues that needed to be finalised to ensure successful implementation of the programme,” Bimha said.
Bureau Veritas will provide verification of conformity services of listed products in the country of export and issue a certificate of conformity based on national and international quality, safety, health, and environment standards.
He said the enforcement phase will commence on July 27, 2015 and October 31, 2015 will mark the end of the transitional period while the full implementation would commence on November 1, 2015.
Bimha said Zimbabwe was fast becoming some giant warehouse of foreign manufactured goods. He also said the country has become the retail cash cow of the region as evidenced by imports which stood at $3 billion in 2014 whilst exports were worth $1,2 billion.
He added that it was estimated that by year-end $3,5 billion will be spent on imports in an economy that was said to be worth $10 billion.
Bimha said it was important to note that some of the products were sub-standard imports being dumped in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe Standards Regulatory Authority shall have the responsibility of ensuring that products imported and exported into Zimbabwe meet quality, safety, health and environment standards. The Authority is in line with implementation of the part of the World Trade Organisation agreements. The agreements provide for verification of prices, compliance to standards and quality monitoring measures,” Bimha said.
He said this authority will be administered by the Zimbabwe Standards Regulatory Authority Act whose draft Bill has been forwarded to the Attorney-General for examination.
Bimha said countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Togo, Egypt and Ivory Coast introduced CBCA programmes to address challenges of substandard imports.