The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
BUY Zimbabwe, a lobby body for the promotion of local products, has expressed concern over reports that some imported unfortified sugar brands are being sold on the local market in contravention of sections 4 and 5 of Statutory Instrument 120 of 2016.
SI 120 of 2016 requires that sugar be fortified with food fortificants that have been approved by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
In a statement, Buy Zimbabwe general manager, Mr Alois Burutsa said there was now an influx of unfortified sugar brands in the market.
“The unfortified sugar brands are Ashna Golden Sugar, Sunshine Brown Sugar, Liberty Brown Sugar, Atlanta Brown Sugar and Cosspex Brown Sugar. Furthermore, all the above-mentioned brands are also non-compliant in terms of labelling as they also failed the labelling requirements test and for the same reason, should therefore not be allowed to come into Zimbabwe but should be taken off our shelves to protect our innocent, unsuspecting consumers,” said Mr Burutsa.
He said this was not only violation working against the intended objectives behind SI 120 of 2016 but was also creating an uneven playing field for local sugar producers who are observing the law and are incurring additional costs that come with fortification.
Mr Burutsa said as Buy Zimbabwe they were urging the relevant authorities to take the necessary action against the importation of these unfortified sugar brands as they pose a health risk especially to children.
“We also urge the public to buy locally manufactured fortified sugar from our local markets which meet the set dietary standards. We will continue to push for the production and preference of quality local products to create jobs, wealth and pride in Zimbabwean products,” he added.
Meanwhile, Buy Zimbabwe, has established a local content office as part of efforts to ensure that local content policy gets traction as well as to deepen local value chains.
This comes in the wake of increasing reliance on imported brands and services which often undermines locals in business.
Mr Burutsa said the establishment of the local content office follows the successful hosting of the Public Procurement Conference and Awards last month.
“The local content office comes after another milestone partnership between Buy Zimbabwe and Business Standards and Systems Certification to ensure verification of local content. Buy Zimbabwe will be working very closely with the secretariat for local content steering committee under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce,” said Mr Burutsa.
The conference was held in partnership with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) and ran under the theme Unlocking Zimbabwe’s economic potential through public procurement.
The conference underlined the need to put implementation mechanism to ensure that public tenders are directed to entities with high local content in line with the national industrialization drive.
“To facilitate the work of the local content office with members and stakeholders Buy Zimbabwe has employed a local content officer, Mr Sebastian Sibanda, a founder and graduate of budding incubation hubs in Zimbabwe. Sebastian has worked for Old Mutual, Midlands State University and Banc ABC among many leading corporates.”
In his new assignment he is expected to work closely with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries CZI, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce ZNCC, to ensure alignment on the need for Zimbabwe to reduce dependency on imports.