Thupeyo Muleya : Beitbridge Bureau
THE implementation of Government’s new pre-shipment regulations under the Consignment- Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) programme took off with a host of challenges on Tuesday morning.The new regulations, which were gazetted in December last year and require that goods be tested for conformity with required standards prior importation into Zimbabwe, took effect on March 1.
Government, through the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, introduced the programme with the view to reduce hazardous and substandard imported products and improve Customs duty collection.
Bureau Veritas was appointed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for the verification and the assessment of conformity of goods in exporting countries.
However, the new developments have seen cargo piling up on the South African side of the border with most importers failing to produce the required transitional certificate of conformity.
The Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) chief executive officer, Mr Joseph Musariri called on the Government to waive the implementation of the CBCA on goods which were shipped before it became operational.
“It is sad that cargo is piling up at Beitbridge border post where most importers are having challenges in acquiring the transitional CBCA certificates” he said.
The categories of goods regulated under the programme include the following: Food and agriculture, building and civil engineering, petroleum & fuels, packaging material, electrical/electronic products, body care, automotive and transportation, clothing & textile and toys.
Mr Musariri said Zimra was now refusing to clear goods without the CBCA certificate and requesting for the conformity certificates.
“They are telling those importers to contact the nearest offices for Bureau Veritas for inspections and issuance of the requisite certificates.
“Locally destined cargo which is being shipped from various overseas markets is the worst affected and importers are incurring daily demurrage expenses of between $250 and $5 000.
“In some cases duties had been paid to Zimra but now they are singing a different song,” he said.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha told The Herald Business that the ministry was yet to receive the border reports but like any new system the CBCA would also be prone to teething challenges.
“We are working together with Zimra and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe on this new programme. Together, if the report on the challenges at the border comes, we will address them immediately as this is still a new system.”
Bureau VERITAS liaison officer for Zimbabwe, Mr Tendai Malunga said his organisation was ready for the implementation of the CBCA programme.
“We have trained various stakeholders on the new programme and are ready to roll.
“Furthermore we have hired more staff in most countries to conduct inspections and various conformity tests on the various countries exporting goods to Zimbabwe,” he said.