Industry and Commerce Ministry Hosts Consumer Awareness Workshop

Nomthandazo Gabi

Director of Ceremonies, Senior Government Officials, Captains of Industry and Commerce, Representatives from all Government Ministries, Members of the Media Fraternity, Distinguished Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

First, let me warmly welcome you all to Matabeleland South Province. It is an honor and privilege to address you at this Consignment-Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) and Consumer Education and Awareness Stakeholders Workshop, hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

I want to thank the organizers for creating this vital platform for interactive engagement, bringing us all together to discuss important consumer issues. We are here to talk about two crucial government programs: the Consignment-Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) Program and Consumer Protection. Both aim to enhance consumer welfare by upholding and enforcing consumer rights, particularly in safety and health standards. Producing quality goods and services that meet the needs of empowered consumers improves our country’s image and competitiveness in both domestic and international markets.

As stakeholders and key role-players, we must contribute to the continued improvement of the CBCA Program, which has become a major aspect of enhancing consumer welfare and promoting fair business practices. This program shields consumers from discriminatory, unethical, and unfair business practices.

The CBCA program rewards and supports those who import compliant products and practice responsible procurement while scrutinizing suppliers who attempt to shortchange our industry and consumers with substandard goods. These inferior products threaten our citizens’ health and undermine local industry viability.

The CBCA program, which started in 2015 with a limited product scope, is now governed by Statutory Instrument 35 of 2024. It continues to play a pivotal role in protecting our local industry from unfair competition by ensuring imported products meet prescribed standards.

In December 2019, the Government enacted the Consumer Protection Act [Chapter 14:44] to protect consumers from business malpractices. This Act aims to create a fair, efficient, sustainable, and transparent marketplace that enhances consumer welfare. Consumer protection makes markets work for both businesses and consumers, providing accurate, unbiased information about products and services so consumers can make informed choices. It builds confidence in the marketplace and ensures fairness between traders and consumers, allowing consumers to get value for their money.

Consumer protection is crucial for the ordinary Zimbabwean as it provides a voice for the voiceless and access to justice for the downtrodden. It ensures fairness in the economy, protecting the consumer’s safety and economic interests.

It is pleasing to note that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is developing the Zimbabwe National Consumer Protection Policy (ZNCPP), which will support the Consumer Protection Act by empowering consumers and protecting their interests. This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to safeguarding and enhancing consumer welfare.

As I conclude, I urge consumers to be aware of their rights. It is one thing for the Government to implement robust consumer protection laws and another for consumers to know about these protections. Hence, the importance of this workshop and the ongoing awareness campaigns by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. We hope the Government continues to prioritize these campaigns across the country.

On behalf of the Government, I thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us for this national cause. Please feel welcome in our beautiful Matabeleland South Province.

I wish you fruitful deliberations.

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