Wimbainashe Zhakata and Daniel Mhonda
GOVERNMENT is exploring initiatives to draw a framework for the utilisation of 1, 4 million euro it received from the European Union (EU) through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) last year for the improvement of metrology services in the country.
Pursuant to this, a high level stakeholder workshop was last Friday held in Mutare to deliberate on the legal metrology standard operating procedures for international best practices.
Legal metrology is the science and practice of measurements, which is subject to legal control.
In an interview with The Herald, regional inspector of trade measures Mr Farai Taruwona said the Ministry of Industry and Commerce had identified gaps in the current Trade Measures Act.
“The ministry has sought the assistance of consultants to come up with a draft of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which are in line with international best practices,” said Mr Taruwona.
He said the workshop was meant for stakeholders of trade measures to enlighten each other on the standard operating procedures.
“The purpose of the workshop to make known the SOPs to the stakeholders so that trade measures would respond to their recommendations since they are the ones who on their day-to-day operations use measuring equipment for trade.
“It was also meant to engage with stakeholders of trade measures, which include packers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, butcheries, oil companies and technicians, to mention a few. The idea was to let them know how to use the standard operating procedures,” he said.
In a bid to promote international trade in Zimbabwe, Mr Taruwona said the Ministry of Industry and Commerce was soon to adopt the e-marketing of products.
“By using e-marketing, technical barriers of trade will be removed and it gives confidence to consumers. It also means inspectors will be spared the task of inspecting goods” he said.
Mr Taruwona also said e-marketing reduced the amount of time it took examiners to access the market and also helped to remove several steps in the administration process saving valuable time.
At the end of the workshop the stakeholders called for trade measures to increase inspectors as well as train them to meet international standards. They also called on Government to improve public awareness to trade on legal require-ments.
Legal metrology consultant for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of trade measures, Mr Victor Mareya said Zimbabwe was allocated EUR 1,4 million by EU under the SADC Trade Protocol Window.
He said the project was running under the theme “Strengthening of quality infrastructure in Zimbabwe to improve compliance with technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures requirements for cross-border trade.”
Meanwhile, Mr Taruwona said the vision of trade measures was to be the centre of excellence in the field of legal metrology in the SADC region by 2025.