Local products genuine, says SAZ

Local products genuine, says SAZ
Published: 24 April 2014
COMPANIES should embrace the standardisation of goods and services to promote the export sector and reduce reliance on cheap imported products, Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) chairman, Trust Chikohora, said yesterday.

He said through standardisation, consumers are encouraged to buy local genuine products than fake versions of prominent brands.

"Zimbabwe is endowed with raw materials and natural resources which present a huge opportunity as these are locally sourced," said Chikohora in his address at the Zimbabwe International Business Conference running alongside the ZITF.

"If all products produced in Africa conform to a relevant standard for that particular product then, the products are capable of accessing export markets, at the same time reducing reliance on cheap and sometimes sub-standard imports."

He said the competitiveness of products and higher profits allow companies to expand thereby creating employment.

"Standards also ensure a higher standard of living through elimination of counterfeit goods which may be defective. Especially for foodstuffs, standards are of critical importance in safeguarding the health of the nation," he said.

He added that developing countries were using International Standards Organisation (ISO) standards such as ISO 22000, which requires that Food Management Systems be used along with the relevant product standards for best quality results.

"This standard helps to promote a process approach to manage numerous linked functional departments in an organisation, in particular the use of resources in delivering customer satisfaction.

"This increases organisational success as it is a useful tool which increases efficiency and reduces irregular activities within the company resulting in consistency," he said.

The main reason why organisations fail, Chikohora said, was due to failure to adequately identify needs of the customer, leaving product realisation ineffective, quality policy undefined and customer complaints unaddressed.

He said quality standards attract foreign investment and tourists as consumers of hospitality industry products are assured of quality services.

Last year, SAZ certified a number of hotels across the country to international standards thus presenting a unique and historic opportunity for Zimbabwe to host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly in Victoria Falls.

Chikohora said ISO 31000 and ISO 26000 were standards for risk management systems and guidance on social responsibility respectively, which developing countries were also using.

"If such management is not in place then natural resources will be used faster than they are replenished.  Also manufacturing industry provides all forms of pollution from noise to land, their activities should be managed properly so that they do not destroy the ecosystem," he said.

He said SAZ was a full member of the African Regional Standardisation Organisation (ARSO), a regional body whose mandate is to promote standardisation and harmonisation of standards at continental level.

Through harmonisation and integration, ARSO is leading the continent in promoting intra-Africa trade within the potential $1 trillion dollar economy.

"Zimbabwe standards which are benchmarked on international standards remain a great opportunity for driving quality, innovation and growth. This business conference should be seen as a point of reference to reflect on Zimbabwe's competitiveness in the global market.

"According to available statistics, despite the many bi-lateral and multilateral agreements, Africa continues to engage at the periphery of the global economy, as is evident from the continent's declining share in global production and trade which currently stands at 3 present and projected to 4 percent by 2030."

He said in the context of Zimbabwe there should be more realisation that the informal sector players through Small and Medium Enterprises must be seen as providing an opportunity for growth and poverty reduction.

"This requires measures that will improve the conditions of firms and providing a coherent route towards formality which standardization provides," said Chikohora.
- chronicle
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