By Staff Reporter
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Trade has started public hearings for the Consumer Protection Bill which is seeking among other things to close gaps and loopholes in the current consumer protection laws.
Speaking recently, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) chairperson Phillip Bvumbe said consultations on the Bill will be done across the country.
“There will be various consultation meetings that the Committee on Industry and Trade will be conducting around the country.
“The comprehensive Bill (Consumer Protection) if passed will cover all loopholes from the existing legislation which is meant to protect consumers,” he said.
The bill whose preamble is based on section 51 and 56 of the Zimbabwe Constitution will also create opportunities for redress to unsatisfied consumers and enforce penalties in some cases.
Two teams have been created from the committee with the first one covering such areas as Chinhoyi, Bindura, Marondera, Mutare and Harare.
Team B will be facilitating similar hearings in Gweru, Bulawayo, Gwanda, Lupane and Masvingo and the whole process is expected to take about two weeks.
It, however, remains to be seen how the public will attend the hearings as they have generally been ignored owing to a lot of reasons.
One of the reasons is that public input is rarely considered despite these hearing and also due to lack of publicity for the hearings.
Meanwhile, Bvumbe also took the opportunity to dismiss claims that the CCZ has dismally failed to exercise its duties in terms of the protection of consumer rights, adding that “we are no longer toothless, we hope this bill will be given the prominence it deserves and fast-tracked; we hope that it will be passed by the second sitting of Parliament,” he added.