Cabinet approves Standards Bill

Cabinet yesterday approved principles of the Standards Bill meant to establish the Standards Institute of Zimbabwe that will guide the development of standards through promotion of quality assurance in industry and commerce.

This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, during the post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday.

He said Cabinet had considered and approved the principles of the Standards Bill, which were presented by Industry and Commerce Minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the public that the Standards Bill will guide the development of voluntary standards in the protection of safety, health and the environment,” said Dr Muswere. 

“The Bill will create the Standards Institute of Zimbabwe, whose main mandate will be to develop, publish and promote voluntary standards and quality assurance in industry and commerce. The Bill will provide for the establishment of Provincial Standards Committees which will be entrusted with supervision, administration and financial management functions in the provinces. 

“The introduction of the Standards Law will help grow the country’s exports through regulating the quality of goods and services under the consolidated African Continental Free Trade Area market. Furthermore, the framework of standards will be cascaded to all the country’s provinces to support the rural industrialisation agenda through production of quality and competitive goods and services.”

Responding to inquiries from the media, Minister Ndlovu said the difference between the Standard Institute of Zimbabwe that is envisaged by the Bill and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe, was that the former was a statutory organ while SAZ was more of voluntary institute under the Private Voluntary Organisation Act.

He said it was up to SAZ proprietors to continue with their work or complement the statutory organisation.

On other Cabinet deliberations, Dr Muswere said Government had approved the establishment of the National Institutional Framework of the African Peer Review Mechanism as presented by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava.

“The African Peer Review Mechanism, to which Zimbabwe assented in February 2020, is a self-monitoring mechanism through which African Union member States voluntarily foster principles of good governance for political stability and socio-economic development. As a member of the African Peer Review Mechanism, Zimbabwe is mandated to establish national structures through which country assessments will be conducted. “The structures will comprise the Focal Point, the National Governing Council, the Secretariat and the Technical Research Institutions,” said Dr Muswere.

He said Cabinet has made appointments to the national structures with Commissioner James Manzou as the National Focal Point, who will represent the Head of State and Government as well as play a coordination role among Government, the National Governing Council and the Continental African Peer Review Mechanism structures, members of the National Governing Council, who will be drawn from relevant Government ministries, the academia, media, civic society organisations, Parliament of Zimbabwe and the private sector.

Secretaries for Provincial Affairs and Devolution would be the Provincial Focal Points, a Secretariat led by the Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Rofina Chikava would be the interim Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of the African Peer Review Mechanism, while established universities and other research institutions will constitute the Technical Research Institutions to be appointed on an ad hoc basis.  Dr Muswere said Cabinet approved a number of Memoranda of Agreement with different countries and institutions.

They include a Memorandum of Cooperation Agreement between Zimbabwe and International Social Service Secretariat-Geneva-Switzerland, presented by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi as Chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.

“The nation is advised that the desire to sign the agreement was informed by the need to protect Zimbabwean citizens or adopted children who may be ill-treated outside the country. Becoming a signatory of the International Social Service will cut the cost of managing related cases outside the country’s jurisdiction. 

Another MoU is between Zimbabwe and Malawi as well as Zimbabwe and Zambia in the fields of labour and employment.

Cabinet also approved an MoU between Zimbabwe and the International Labour Organisation Convention on Violence and Harassment at the Workplace.

Herald

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