Cabinet has approved principles of the Bill seeking to give the Standards Association of Zimbabwe powers to subject products to compulsory testing for compliance with minimum quality standards. SAZ executive director Ms Eve Gadzikwa said in an interview yesterday that they were now awaiting the Attorney General’s office to put principles of the standards regulatory authority into a draft Bill.
“We had our last meeting with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Principles of the Bill have been approved by Cabinet,” she said.
The Bill comes in the wake of ever increasing imported goods.
The passing of the Bill will culminate in the formation of what will be known as the National Quality Standards Authority meant to ensure that products met minimum quality, health and safety standards.
“In our last wider stakeholder consultative meeting we raised a number of inputs we wanted incorporated in the Bill. We are waiting for the AG to draft the Bill so we can take a look at it,” she added.
Mrs Gadzikwa said other issues they wanted incorporated in the Bill related to input from other regulatory bodies who had keen interest in the compulsory testing of local and imported products for quality.
Deputy Industry and Commerce Minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa recently said that the quality standards regulatory body would enable Zimbabwe to meet its World Trade Organisation standards.
Ms Gadzikwa once said since Zimbabwe relied heavily on imported products there was need for a regulatory and co-ordinated approach to monitoring the quality of products sold in the country.
“Zimbabwe is receiving quite a number of goods from outside, the issue of consumer protection becomes of paramount importance,” she said.
SAZ is trying to expedite crafting of the legislation to compel the compulsory testing of products for quality, which must meet minimum standards, to curtail the impact of counterfeit and unsafe products.
This follows reports fake and sub-standard products, including imported goods that evade scrutiny by local port authorities, had flooded the market, putting lives of unsuspecting consumers at risk.
Products to be subjected to mandatory testing for quality include vehicles, automobile spares, medicines, electrical gadgets and personal hygiene products, which are being imported in large numbers.