National Standards Regulatory Body On Cards
By Lynette Manzini
Harare, February 22, 2017 - GOVERNMENT is in the process of setting up a national regulatory body that will assess and control the quality of imports passing through the country’s borders, parliament has been told.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said this to parliament’s Industry and Commerce committee before which he had appeared recently.
Bimha had been asked to brief the committee on the progress of the Bureau Veritas, a conformity compliance issuing organisation and leader in testing, inspection and certification.
Bimha said the development comes after government recognised the inability of the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) to arrest violators of set down standards and quality, almost two year after Bureau Veritas began inspecting consignments headed for the country.
“SAZ does not have arresting powers but it can only lay down expected size or quality of a product,” Bimha.
“We have started the process of setting up a regulatory body, the National Standards Regulatory Body that will be responsible for the quality of goods that will be available on the market.”
Zimbabwe is seen as a dumping ground for substandard products from mostly Asian countries since the country decided to dollarize in 2009.
Bimha said since engaging Bureau Veritas, the quality of consignments has since improved.
“Before, we heard substandard goods coming into the country because we had no means to check but the organisation has 140 labs in exporting countries around the world,” he said.
“When Bureau Veritas began its work, companies that sent inferior goods into the country have since stopped with others improving the quality of goods after realising there were get keepers.”
Although he did not mention the amount of products that passed the conformity test and those that did not, Bimha said the exercise was serving local consumers who had been exposed to goods that were substandard, hazardous to the environment or counterfeit.
The country had been using the services of Bureau Veritas as an interim measure before the permanent solution is implemented.