President Mnangagwa launches new consumer protection law
Harare (New Ziana) – President Emerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday robust consumer protection laws are an important aspect of the economic development agenda that the government is pursuing.
Speaking during the launch of the Consumer Protection Act, President Mnangagwa said the law sought to protect consumers by ensuring a fair, efficient and transparent market.
“As we accelerate programs to modernise and industrialise our country for sustainable economic growth, the enactment of the Act was timely. It takes a holistic and forward looking approach to ensure that industry offers cutting edge products and vibrant services to society while inspiring creativity and innovation,” he said.
“As our economy grows, it is vital for our consumers to hold the market accountable for its actions or omissions.”
President Mnangagwa said in the quest to produce excellent services and quality goods, there was also need for a rapid alert system to flag undesirable and hazardous goods and services.
Furthermore, he said, rogue traders and unfair commercial practices should be stopped so that only safe and quality products and services were availed on the market.
“The law is not an end in itself, hence mechanisms and frameworks provided in the Act must be harnessed to entrench good governance in the administration of consumer related issues.
“In line with the need to entrench participatory governance and the promotion of the rights of our people, consumer protection advocacy groups should be more visible towards promoting constructive sectoral engagements and dialogue,” he said.
“It is pleasing that the Act captures the overriding consumer concerns and provides for redress for liability for damages when a violation of consumer occurs.”
President Mnangagwa said the year 2020 had seen both government and industry operate in an environment fraught with economic shocks presented by Covid-19.
“I commend industry and commerce for its resilience, endurance and strategic shift in producing marketing and providing goods and services to meet the changing consumer needs. We have witnessed a transition characterised by the increased usage of ICTs to conduct business and market products and services to consumers.
“While the Consumer Protection Act also deals with conduct related to the use of the internet when conducting business, mechanisms must be urgently put in place to adequately regulate the practice.
We must guarantee safety, predictability, transparency and consistency for the benefit of both consumers and our economy as a whole from the use of the digital platforms,” he said.
President Mnangagwa urged local industry and commerce to take advantage of the current macro-economic stability to produce affordable, quality goods and services.
“We are on a path towards a modern, prosperous and stronger Zimbabwe. Let us all work hard together in unity. A brighter future depends on all of us.”
Parliament passed the Consumer Protection Bill in September 2019 and it became law when it was gazetted on December 10 the same year.
Primarily the CPA seeks to protect consumers of goods and services by ensuring a fair, efficient, sustainable and transparent market place for consumers and business through the establishment of the Consumer Protection Commission.
Enactment of the Act was a historic achievement as it finally provided a law that enforces and protects consumers in different marketplaces where some entities and persons seek to gain added wealth through shrewd or potentially manipulative use of resources.
In the past consumers would complain to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe which was toothless as it did not have powers to act against business that engaged in anti-consumer practices and relied on moral suasion.
The CPA has sections that make it an offence for any business or person not to comply with the Consumer Protection Council or court.