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Quality Standards Regulatory Act to be promulgated in Q

The Government is in the process of developing the Zimbabwe Quality Standards Regulatory Act, which is expected to be promulgated by the end of March.

The law will monitor and regulate the quality of goods imported into the country.

The Zimbabwe Quality Standards Regulatory Act will complement the Consumer Protection law, whose Bill is currently under consultation.

Addressing participants at a Consumer Protection Bill Consultative workshop, Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) director-general Eve Gadzikwa said the Quality Standards Regulatory law will work hand-in-glove with the new Consumer Protection law to broadly safeguard consumer rights.

Gadzikwa said the Zimbabwe Quality Standards Regulatory Act has a "consumer protection role" as it determines the level of standards on goods (and services) which people consume.

"The purpose of the act is to provide a mechanism of safeguarding the communities by controlling the influx of sub-standard products to be imported in the country," she said.

"The regulator will control the importation of products and allow products which are not harmful to our environment and the people," she said.

"Through the Zimbabwe Quality Standards Regulatory Act certain products will be deemed if they fail meet the required standards," she said.

Currently Zimbabwe's manufacturing sector is being rattled by a plethora of problems, among them lack of working capital, high production costs which have made them uncompetitive against imported, cheap products from South Africa and Asian countries.

Local industries are grappling with low capacity utilisation, which plummeted from 44,3 percent in 2012 to 39,6 percent in 2013, and worsened to 36 percent last year.

The SAZ boss said the law is expected to be launched during the first quarter of this year. Speaking during the same event Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said the Consumer Protection Bill must be aligned with the new constitution for the consumers to be fully protected.

"Consultative meetings conducted so far indicated that consumers have a lot of complains with the act saying the law is just focusing on tangible products neglecting intangible services such as transport services, hospital care and water services," she said.

The Consumer Protection bill is now left to be amended after the last consultative meeting to be aligned with United Nations guidelines on dealing with cross border issues.
(Inappropriate report?)

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