By Innocent Mujeri
An influx of substandard goods which are currently dominating the informal sector as well as other established businesses are not good for the country as they pose a health hazard to consumers.
This was said by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr Sekai Nzenza at the Consignment Based Conformity Assessment Programme (CBCA) Stakeholder Consultative Workshop, held today in Harare.
The stakeholder’s workshop was attended by representatives from organisations such as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), Standard Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) and Zimbabwe National Chamber Of Commerce (ZNCC) among other stakeholders.
“The CBCA programme is meant to stop the influx of substandard goods from entering our markets as they pose a danger to society. Indeed Zimbabwe is open for business as was said by the President, Cde (Emmerson) Mnangagwa, but that does not mean the country is open for substandard goods. We want safe products in the country”, said Minister Nzenza.
Continuing with her presentation, Min Nzenza told the stakeholders that the CBCA programme was put in place by the government of Zimbabwe in order to reduce hazardous and substandard imported products and improve Customs duty collection.
Under the CBCA programme, goods that fall under the categories of Food and Agriculture, Building and Civil engineering, Petroleum & fuels, Packaging material, Electrical/electronic products, Body care, Automotive and transportation, Clothing and textile only come into the country after they meet standards that are allowed in the country.
The implementation of the CBCA programme was a success as Zimbabwe is no longer a dumping ground for substandard goods as was the case previously.
However, Minister Nzenza told the delegates that the workshop was all about exchanging knowledge and ideas on how to stop substandard goods from entering into Zimbabwean markets as they create an unnecessary competition between legally operating businesses and those who sell on pavements of shops and other informal markets.
Speaking at the same workshop, Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) Executive Director Dr Eve Christine Gadzikwa commended the CBCA programme as it protects consumers from unscrupulous businesses who would want to sell substandard products to unsuspecting citizens.
Business analysts Mr Tashinga Chabayanzara said thorough implementation of the CBCA programme will see Zimbabwean companies producing goods that match international standards .This will make it easier for Zimbabwean products to penetrate regional and international markets, generating the much needed foreign currency for the country.