Govt to tighten import control regulations

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
GOVERNMENT is working on a number of pieces of legislation meant to monitor imports so as to protect citizens from substandard goods.

Director for quality assurance in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mrs Angelica Katuruza, said among the statutes is the Compulsory Specifications Act, which will authorise officials to monitor all goods and products on import.

There is also the National Trade Policy for 2017-2021, which will act as a guiding document for intra-trade while a number of other statues will be rationalised under the National Quality Assurance Policy, which talks to quality infrastructure pillars.

Officially opening the 5th Standards Association of Zimbabwe Business Leaders’ Conference here on Friday, Mrs Katuruza said standards were a critical element of business and protection of citizens.

“It is imperative that we adopt standards, boost the productive capacity of our industries and manufacture products that are acceptable in regional and international markets.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is working on the pillars of quality infrastructure to reduce importation of substandard goods that can potentially harm our people and the environment,” she said.

“Government developing a Compulsory Specifications Act, which will authorise officials to monitor and ensure that local and imported goods meet quality, safety, health, and environment standards as well as seizing and destroying substandard goods from the shelves.”

Mrs Katuruza said the Act would make standards pertinent to human health, trade and environment compulsory and also criminalise importation and distribution of substandard products. This comes on the backdrop of influx of second hand and uncertified goods that flood the country’s market and are sold on the parallel market through smuggling.

She said the country was taking advantage of intra-regional trade and integration as an initial training ground for exports. The ministry is also finalising development of a new National Trade Policy for 2017-2021.

The policy will serve as guiding document towards future regional industrial and trade arrangements for the country, which will ensure that it participates effectively in the changing regional and global economic environment.

The National Quality Assurance Policy is also set to guide and direct programmes and activities of the different quality infrastructure pillars in a collaborated manner.

Through the NQAP, Government will rationalise various fragmented pieces of legislation to enhance the coordination of the functions of different institutions in the quality infrastructure sector, said Mrs Katuruza.

She, however, warned SAZ to make sure that the standards being developed do not become technical barriers to trade. The theme for the conference was “Leveraging the national quality infrastructure for market access”.

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