The Zimbabwe Consumer Protection Bill should strike a balance between the needs of consumers and private enterprise growth to ensure sustainable economic development, the Chartered Institute of Customer Relations Management has warned.
The Zimbabwe Consumer Protection Bill is set to replace the Consumer Contracts Act (Chapter 8:03) and will culminate in the establishment of a Consumer Protection Agency that will fight for consumer rights as well as Consumer Advocacy Organisations.
The Bill is now awaiting the minister’s notice for presentation in the House of Assembly.
In an interview with The Herald Business, CICRM executive director Dr Mthokozisi Nkosi, said whenever given the opportunity, consumers are tempted to push for the enactment of laws that almost criminalise the doing of business.
Dr Nkosi said while provisions should be tight enough to achieve consumer protection on enactment into laws, there is need to strike a balance and allow business space to operate particularly at a time when Government is pushing for private sector led growth through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
“There is a lot of excitement among consumers on the proposed Act, and the temptation to come up with a one-sided law can be very real,” said Dr Nkosi.
“It is thus imperative that the proposed law should be a balanced piece of legislation that promotes the interests of both consumers and business. The two must co-exist as one cannot do without the other.
“This is especially important against the background that we have seen in the new order a deliberate push to re-engage and attract international capital back into the economy, so even as we craft our laws, we must always be worry of this,” he said.
Dr Nkosi, however, reiterated that the call to strike a balance shouldn’t be misconstrued to give business a free reign to exploit consumers.
Against this background, Dr Nkosi said, once enacted the law should be enforced as a deterrent to would be offenders.