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Sub-standard Goods Face Ban As Zimbabwe Mulls New Import Regime

  • Chris Gande

Zimbabwe SAF travelers carrying goods across the border.

Zimbabwe SAF travelers carrying goods across the border.

Government is mulling efforts to bar substandard goods imported into the country under the Consignment Based Conformity Assessment program which is expected to kick off on the first day of March.

Zimbabwe is currently facing a glut of substandard goods, mostly from China, that many people rely on because they are cheap.

The measures, that will be enforced under the guidelines of the French-based Bureau Veritas, are expected to ensure that all listed imported products meet quality, safety, health and environmental standards in line with the World Trade Organization agreements.

The new import regime will ensure that importers bring into the country their products only after being issued with conformity certificates.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in conjunction with ministry officials, the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and Bureau Veritas will man ports of entry to safeguard consumers from sub-standard imported products.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has already embarked on a nationwide awareness campaign that is expected to highlight the measures.

Studio 7 reached independent economic commentator, Masimba Kuchera, and asked him if the new measures are a good move, especially at a time when the economy is not performing well.

“Look, I think on the surface it’s a good idea because it aims to bring quality and standard into imports. You’ll find that a lot of things in the clothes industry, the shoe industry and the fashion industry were substandard and the idea is to import stuff that is of a certain industry,” he said.

He added that, however, this was not the best solution considering that there used to be a similar setup back in the days called the SSI that fell by the wayside.

He said what needs to be fixed is the money supply so that people can have disposable income in order to be able to buy things and not to satisfy the standard of goods.

“This certification process will also require money and will raise the price of goods imported into the country. People do not have the disposable income to make a choice. Most of these purchases that people make is not because they want to buy substandard goods it’s because it’s what they can afford,” said Kuchera.