BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Bureau Veritas (BV), an international firm contracted by government to undertake consignment-based conformity assessment (CBCA) for imports destined for Zimbabwe, says it has rejected 262 million substandard products since inception in 2016.
CBCA was implemented under Statutory Instrument No 132 of 2015 gazetted on December 18, 2015 by the Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development ministry and started operating in March 2016.
Through the arrangement, the government receives 5% fees from Bureau Veritas.
During the first year of operation, the company rejected 182 million substandard products, followed by 202 million counterfeit products in 2017.
“In addition to enjoying protection from inferior products, the CBCA regulation has proved to be an excellent tool to use as a basis to develop and manufacture products that meet international standards,” Zimbabwe contracts manager Tendai Malunga said.
Malunga, who did not specify the origin of substandard products, said institutions such as Zesa Holdings, were now insisting on the production of a CBCA certificate of conformity before awarding tenders for electrical components.
“This has resulted in an upward increase in the volume of imported compliant electrical components, thereby ensuring public safety. Each consignment was evaluated for compliance to the appropriate standards by verification of any existing test reports submitted and laboratory testing by a qualified laboratory,” he said.
Zimbabwe imports most of its products, with statistics showing that between February and December 2018, the country imported goods and services worth $6,4 billion. Imports were $6 billion in 2015 and $5,2 billion in 2016.
Between January and November 2017, Zimbabwe’s imports totalled $4,9 billion.
In 2016, President Emmerson Mnangagwa asked the Industry and Commerce ministry to re-examine Bureau Veritas’ operations after business complained that the institution was increasing the cost of doing business as it demanded hard cash of as much as $250 per consignment from foreign business players.
Products covered under the CBCA programme include building products, petroleum and fuel, packaging material, electrical/ electronic products, body care and health products, automotive and transportation, clothing and textile.