Story by Tafara Chikumira
THE Consumer Protection Commission has vowed to bring sanity to business operations in the country, with over 100 businesses having been brought to account over unfair practices.
The recent abuse of consumers by some errant businesses, which have seen unprecedented price hikes and the sale of substandard products, has prompted stakeholders in the consumer protection sector to come together and devise strategies to nip the vice in the bud.
The Consumer Protection Commission spoke to ZBC News in Gweru this Thursday on efforts to bring sanity to the business sector.
“We have since recruited inspectors, compliance officers and investigators. We have made over 100 arrests in Bulawayo, Chinhoyi and Bindura. As we are in Gweru, officers are moving around. Some shops were not displaying prices, some were selling expired products, and some were selling products of poor quality. That indiscipline in the market is what we are trying to nip in the bud,” said Mr Kudakwashe Mudereri.
The customer watchdog group, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe weighed in saying, the volatility on the parallel market rate should be dealt with for the protection of consumers on the market.
“Businesspeople are chasing the parallel exchange rate as opposed to the bank rate, and their excuse is that they cannot restock. On the surface, it looks like there is no law, as anyone is doing what they deem necessary. It is no longer business as usual, and we might end up with no business at all. We have policies in place but they are not being used as the business sector is not controllable. The only way is to deal with the parallel market,” said Mrs Chiedza Runashe.
In 2019, the government enacted the Consumer Protection Act, meant to protect consumers’ rights, as the Second Republic moved in to ensure that there is an enforcement mechanism to protect the public from errant business operations.