Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
Importers who bring consignments of product without conformity certificates will be denied entry into Zimbabwe under a new import regime taking effect next month as the country intensifies measures to safeguard consumers from sub-standard imported products.
The new measures come into effect on March 1 under the Consignment Based Conformity Assessment programme which ensures that all listed imported products meet quality, safety, health and environmental standards in line with the World Trade Organisation agreements.
In his key note address a CBCA awareness campaign programme yesterday, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha said the CBCA programme is progressing well and will be governed by Statutory Instrument No 132 of 2015.
“My ministry embarked on the CBCA programme which entails the verification of conformity in the country of export prior to shipment of the consignment. This is one of the measures to curb the influx of sub-standard imported products, that are flooding the markets and at the same time creating an uneven playing field to our industries,” Minister Bimha said.
“Indeed the influx of sub-standard imported goods, which do not meet required standards, is negatively impacting on the competitiveness of our local industries,” he said.
He said sub-standard products have a negative impact on the company as this hinges on its profitability.
Other cases that have been identified include sub-standard packaging, wrongly quoted measurements and poor quality food, medicines and fuel.
“March 1 marks the commencement date for full implementation of the programme. In that regard as from March 1, 2016,
only fully compliant certificates of conformity will be required for the clearance of goods that depart the country of export on or after March 1, 2016.
“The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in conjunction with ministry officials, the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and Bureau Veritas representatives are refining the enforcement modalities and this means that at all ports of entry non-conforming consignments will be denied entry into the country,” said Minister Bimha.
“Thus importers who will bring any consignments of products listed for inspection not accompanied with conformity certificate would be required to take corrective action which could include taking consignment back to the exporting country at his or her expense. I appeal to you all importers to abide by the requirements of the CBCA programme to avoid any financial losses,” he said.
The CBCA programme is expected to benefit Government in terms of revenues, employment creation of locals and quality goods that meet safety, health and environmental standards. Domestic industries are also expected to be protected from unfair competition.
Zimbabwe is not the only country implementing the CBCA programme. Other countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana have also contracted Bureau Veritas to assess conformity.