Nzenza to officiate at CCZ, ANZ forum

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Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza will be the guest speaker at a Business Breakfast Forum being convened by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) and the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) to interrogate the Consumer Protection Act, signed into law recently.

Nzenza will speak on government’s current efforts to safeguard consumer interests from a policy perspective. This comes at a time the government is being lauded for passing the Act, which seeks to, among other things, protect all consumers of goods and services, regulate consumer advocacy organisations and create the Consumer Protection Commission.
The Act is a result of heavy lobbying by the CCZ from as far back as early 2000s when the consumer watchdog was then led by Elizabeth Nerwande to this day when it is under Rosemary Siyachitema’s stewardship.

The new law comes at an opportune time when consumers are singing the blues as a result of the escalating costs of goods and services. As the Zimbabwe dollar continues to lose its value against major trading currencies, prices of mostly basics have shot through the roof, leaving the consumer poorer.

There are accusations that producers and retailers are profiteering at the expense of the struggling consumer with the breadline rising beyond what the average consumer can afford.
It had therefore, become increasingly important for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to promulgate the Act in order to safeguard the rights of the consumer.

In her presentation in July 2016, the executive director of the CCZ, Siyachitema, said the Act was meant to be as comprehensive as possible to ensure that regulators, legislation and policy do not perennially play catch-up. The Act is also meant to create a platform wherein business practices operate from a standard in relation to consumer rights and be alive to the emerging technologies and markets with the view of protecting the consumer.

The law is also meant to encourage competition, while simultaneously discouraging market domination bordering on monopolies and pay particular attention to the customer services sector, ensuring that the sector adheres to consumer-friendly modes of operation.

“The Act is also meant to ensure that the consumer is aware of his/her responsibilities,” she said at the time. Nzenza became minister of Industry and Commerce following a Cabinet reshuffle in November last year. Before assuming the new role, she was the minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

Nzenza was born in rural Zimbabwe and trained as a nurse at Great Ormond Street in London.
Other speakers at the event — set for Cresta Lodge in the capital — are CCZ national chairperson Phillip Bvumbe and Siyachitema while panelists will include Information Society Initiatives Trust’s executive director Reuben Gwatidzo, industrialist Kumbirai Katsande, past CCZ executive director and current Mimosa Mining Company head of corporate affairs Elizabeth Nerwande and lawyer Runouya Zimudzi.

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