By Joel Mandaza
The Consumer Protection Bill which sailed through Parliament is now awaiting the Presidential assent to become law.
In a notice in the Government Gazette of December 6, 2019, Speaker of National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda announced that “In terms of section 131(5) (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, it is hereby notified that on the 28th of November, 2019, the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, was transmitted to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for his assent and signature,” he said.
If enacted as is in the Bill, the Consumer Protection Act will seek to protect consumers through making sacred, the right to fair value, good quality and safety of goods and services.
It is expected to provide the legal basis for the setting up of a Consumer Protection Agency which will act as the consumers` shield against improper business practises.
According to Section 131 of the Constitution after being given the Bill, the President is supposed to sign it into law within 21 days or if there are clauses deemed unconstitutional, the President can send it back to
Parliament for adjustment.
The Consumer Protection Act is poised to bring relief to consumers who have been the first victims of the economic crisis in the country.
Companies have been reducing product quality to reduce costs and customer service (especially in the banking sector) has dropped significantly.
There is hope the law can deal with these issues which have seen a lot of Zimbabweans get raw deals from entities even after parting with their hard-earned money.