Government says it is in the process of developing the National Regulatory and Quality Infrastructure Policy that seeks to address the key macro-economic issues of standardisation.
Experts say properly functioning Quality Infrastructure (QI) and consumer protection systems are vital insofar as they create a vital basis for participation in international trade, the dismantling of non-tariff trade barriers, and access to international markets within the framework of the global harmonisation processes of standards and norms.
To this extent, the proposed policy is expected to enhance the productivity of Zimbabwe’s industry and the competitiveness of locally manufactured products both in the domestic and global markets.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, said the policy is currently at consultation stage.
“My ministry is working in consultation with key stakeholders in an effort to develop the National Regulatory and Quality Infrastructure Policy. The policy is designed to effectively harmonise quality and standardisation issues at national level.
“This policy will similarly improve the coordination and corroboration of quality and standardisation issues within our country,” he said.
“A well-built Quality Infrastructure coupled with the use of international best practices is sure to propel our country’s exports to regional and international markets thereby increasing foreign exchange earnings.
“This is because standards have been proven to lead to better public health, consumer and environmental protection, economic growth and better quality of life.”
QI includes standardisation, accreditation, conformity assessment (such as certification and testing services), and metrology.
According to German development agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), QI is a prerequisite for the participation in international trade, product traceability, environmental and health protection, product compatibility, and supports consumer and supplier confidence in products.
“Burgeoning global trade, increasing economic integration, and growing awareness of quality issues on the part of consumers, trade participants and legislators are placing ever-increasing demands on the quality of goods, services and processes,” says the agency.
Presently, the development and use of standards in the country is facilitated by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ), while the regulation of quality imported products is guided by the Consignment Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) programme, which is being run by Bureau Veritas – a global leader in testing, inspection and certification.