Govt vows to keep seeking level field for consumers
Michael Tome Business Reporter
THE Government has promised to continue pushing for the creation of a level playing field between business and consumers, in line with provisions of the recently enacted Consumer Protection Act.
Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza said this in her remarks at the World Consumer Rights Day symposium held in Harare yesterday.
The symposium, which ran under the theme “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transitions”, sought to provide consumers with information about the new Consumer Protection Act, which strives to protect consumer interests.
Conversations around the infringement of consumer rights in the marketplace dominated discussions at the event.
The Act was promulgated in October 2021 by the President and provides for the protection of consumers from unfair and fraudulent trading practices.
The law is also designed to ensure consumers are shielded from consuming substandard products while making sure customers do not suffer abuse from business operators without avenues for redress.
Targeted malpractices include the dumping of imported products, which has become prevalent in the local market.
In a speech read on her behalf by the secretary for Industry and Commerce, Dr Mavis Sibanda, Dr Nzenza said the Act outlined mechanisms to deal with breaches of consumer rights.
She said the Act seeks would transform the way producers and consumers interact in the marketplace.
“This symposium provides us with an opportunity to educate the buyers about their rights so that they are empowered to make a decision in the marketplace so that they are not taken advantage of.
“I want to challenge business organisations represented today at this important symposium to play their part to ensure that the implementation of the Consumer Protection Act is a success. Let’s us remember the old adage that the Consumer is King.
“As you are aware, Government is there to create a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive, and therefore we want to ensure that we work together, educating businesses about its obligations in the marketplace under the Consumer Protection Act,” said Minister Nzenza.
She encouraged all stakeholders to undertake consumer protection awareness programmes across the country to ensure far-reaching awareness on the provision of the Act, which is critical for the empowerment of consumers about their rights.
The minister also urged the Consumer Protection Commission to accelerate the development of its Communication Strategy, for communicating of consumer issues to members of the public.
She indicated that the strategy should use multiple media platforms, including electronic, print, and digital to ensure that the Consumer Protection Act is understood by all our citizens, especially the marginalised and vulnerable groups.
The event was graced by, director general of Consumers International, Helena Leurent, while the local business community was represented by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR).