THE Ministry of Industry and Commerce has accused retailers of cheating customers by under packing commodities, warning that they risk being slapped with penalties, Radio Dialogue reported.
There had been several complaints that some goods weigh less than the prescribed weight on the packaging material.
Superintendent of Trade Measures in the ministry Silas Makowe said all goods whether locally produced or imported or containers must bear correct label of quantities.
"The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has noted with concern the prevalence of noncompliance with provisions of the above act (Trade Measures Act Chapter 14:23 Trade Measures (Sales of Articles) Regulations S.I No. 56of 1989).
"The Ministry hereby reminds manufactures, packers, retailers and the general public that unless otherwise exempted by the Superintendent of Trade Measures, any pre-packing commodity, whether locally produced or imported or containers shall be in prescribed and correct quantities of the containers," said the ministry.
According to the ministry, volumes or mass range from 50, 75, 100, 125, 200, 250, 300 375, 500 and 750 grams/millilitres.
For kilograms and litres, 1,2,5,10,15,20,25 and 50 apply.
However, that is said not to be the case.
"This however does not apply to articles marked with the quantities, price per unit and the computed price as provided in Part 2 of the Third Schedule of the Regulation. There are severe penalties for contravening the above provisions of the act," the ministry said.
The government recently drafted a Consumer Protection Bill, which must establish the Consumer Protection Commission.
This commission would be mandated with promoting fair business practices and protect consumers from unreasonable, unjust improper trade practices, deceptive, misleading, unfair and fraudulent conduct.
The Bill, if passed into law will result in the establishment of a Consumer Court. The Consumer Court shall be a special court for the purpose of enforcing rights and serve as a court of record.