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MPs want independent consumer rights body

by Staff reporter
28 May 2019 at 07:45hrs | Views
Parliamentarians in the National Assembly have called on Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu to establish the envisaged Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) as an independent body to effectively fight for the protection of consumer rights.

The call was made during discussion of the Consumer Protection Bill that was presented by Minister Ndlovu.

Presenting the report on the Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Industry, the chairperson of the committee, Farai Musikavanhu, said members of the public wanted the CPA to be autonomous.

"Members of the public that contributed also called upon Government to ensure the independence of the CPA so that it performs its operations like other independent commissions and not be under any ministry," Musikavanhu said.

Under the provisions of the Bill, the CPA will operate as a department under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Musikavanhu added that the committee had noted that the harsh economic conditions prevailing in the country had resulted in the rampant abuse of consumer rights.

Contributing to the debate, Kindness Paradza also echoed similar sentiments saying the independence of the body would reduce bureaucracy.

"I welcome the coming in of this Bill because over the years consumers have been receiving a raw deal from the business community because the current body — the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe — is a voluntary body," Paradza said.

"However, this body (the CPA) must be a stand-alone entity from the ministry because there has been interference on the activities of the CCZ and also if it is an independent body it will also do away with bureaucracy and conflict of interest."

Mr Tendai Biti (MDC-ALLIANCE) said the CPA should have the same weight as the other independent constitutional commissions.

"For the body we want to create to adequately protect consumer rights, it must have the same weight with those created by Section 13 of the Constitution," he said.

Some of those commissions include the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Gender Commission and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

The functions of the CPA are to protect consumers from unjust, unreasonable, improper and unacceptable, deceptive, unfair and fraudulent conduct and trading practices and also promote fair business practices by co-ordinating and networking consumer activities and consumer organisations.

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Source - the herald

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