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Govt to present Bill to protect consumers

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Government will today present before Parliament two Bills meant to enforce standards and protect consumers.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The presentation of the Zimbabwe Quality Standards Regulatory Authority Bill (ZQSRA) and the Consumer Protection Bill marks a key step as government moves to meet international standards, increase the country’s competiveness, limit sub-standard imports, and encourage best standard practices locally

Speaking at the commemoration of World Standards Day yesterday, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said by introducing the two pieces of legislation he wanted Parliament to get a feel of what he wants to be doing.

The event was hosted by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe
“Tomorrow (today) morning I will be making a presentation to MPs on the two pieces of legislation we want to introduce. We want to be talking to parliamentarians so that when we do introduce these Bills there will be a buy-in in Parliament,” he said.

The ZQSRA Bill and the Consumer Protection Bill will serve to ensure standards for both imports and exports to encourage a culture of standards in trading goods or services.

Once passed, the French consignment-based conformity bureau, Bureau Veritas, will hand over verification of the conformity service to the ZQSRA after four years.

“These conformity assessment activities will mitigate the import of poor quality and sub-standard products and help domestic manufacturers to compete fairly whilst at the same time offering value for money and protection of the health and safety of the public,” Bimha said.

“The Consumer Protection Bill will help ensure that consumer rights are enforced through promoting fair business practices, and protecting consumers from unreasonable, unjust, misleading, unfair and fraudulent conduct thereby bringing some order into the market.”

He said the Bill would also help with exports as he warned local industry against exporting sub-standard goods.
This comes as the first quarter of 2015 recorded a trade deficit of $853,6 million, which is estimated to reach $3,5 billion by year end, in a $10 billion economy.

The two Bills are also expected to complement the National Competiveness Commission which seeks to promote the country’s competiveness both regionally and internationally.

Bimha described co-operation at a regional level on matters of standardisation and quality assurance as crucial for facilitating the faster movement of goods and services within the region.

He said this would enhance expansion of intra-regional trade and industrial expansion.

“The harmonisation of standards within the region under the Sadc, Comesa and the tripartite Free Trade Area is expected to reduce technical barriers to trade that are normally encountered when goods and services are exchanged between member states due to differences in technical requirements,” Bimha said.

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