The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) says its work is being hampered by lack of financial support resulting in its failure to effectively run programs like consumer education and related issues.
The consumer watchdog’s executive director, Rosemary Siyachitema, told Studio 7 the organization is severely constrained due to poor state funding.
Apart from inadequate funding, the organization is also so understaffed that it is failing handle consumer inquiries in the country.
She said the Ministry Industry and International Trade does not have enough money to fund the CCZ’s consumer awareness and education programs, which are its key business.
Siyachitema said it was imperative that consumer education was included in the school curriculum to help inform citizens on consumer rights, privileges among others.
The organization is currently conducting an outreach program designed to create awareness about the Consumer Protection Bill.
When passed into law, it will lead to the establishment of a Consumer Protection Commission, a corporate that will have representatives from the Environment Management Agency, the Farmers’ Association, Ministry of Industry, the Competition and Tariffs Commission, Standards Association of Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum, among others to cater for the needs of consumers. The body will have powers to sue organizations and individuals as it seeks to protect consumers.
Mutare resident and secretary of the Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association, David Mutambirwa, said the CCZ’s Consumer Protection Bill would go a long way in solving issues affecting the general populace, especially in tackling the poor quality of commodities flooding the Zimbabwe market.
He said the influx of sub-standard goods on the market requires consumer protection through the setting up of necessary legislation. He cited as an example, the influx of Chinese goods that are seen as of poor quality, known in Zimbabwe as Zhing-Zhongs.
Another Mutare resident, Benita Goneso, said such legislation if fully implemented would curtail the abuse of consumers in the transport sector, retail shops and others where service delivery is below consumers’ expectations.