HARARE – Government says it is working on establishing the National Quality Standards Regulatory Authority (NQSRA) which will replace French firm Bureau Veritas in the role of assessing the quality of imported products.
Earlier in February, Government signed a four-year Consignment-Based Conformity (CBCA) contract with Bureau Veritas, and the firm commenced its operations in July.
The contract was for the provision of pre-shipment services of the listed products in the country of export and issuance of certificates of conformity based on the national and international quality, safety, health and environment standards.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Binha said Cabinet has since approved the idea of establishing the NQSRA, which will take-over from Bureau Veritas.
“Many countries have these internal systems that regulate imports. In Zimbabwe…we have put through the principles of this (National Quality Standards Regulatory Authority) Act in Cabinet and it has approved the principles and it’s now in the process of going to Parliament and once it goes through Parliament it will become an authority established under an Act and will be able to then carry out that work.
“We earlier recognised that this process takes time, so in the interim let’s get a reputable company to come and do this for us and hence we took on board Bureau Veritas,” said Minister Bimha.
Bureau Veritas’ operations have not all been smooth sailing as a number of local manufacturers that export have complained that the cost incurred to them by having their products monitored by Bureau Veritas was eating into their export margins.
Minister Bimha however today said Bureau Veritas was playing an important role in curbing the flooding of cheap, substandard imports into the country.
He said the benefits accruing to the economy were far more significant than the costs local exporters were incurring.
“Yes, it might be costly as people say. But when you look at the benefits and you look at those costs, the benefits that accrue to the nation far outweigh the costs that we are talking about.
“And I think that the rates they are using are the rates that are being applied elsewhere in Africa, therefore I don’t think there is really any need for us to cry about it.” – BH24