Metrology agency commits to consumer rights protection, high quality goods and services

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The Zambia Metrology Agency (ZMA) has played a crucial role in 2023, ensuring accurate measurements across various sectors and safeguarding consumer rights.

From maintaining national standards to inspecting pre-packaged goods, their efforts have impacted trade, agriculture, and daily life for Zambians

This is in line with their outlined strategic objectives in the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.

While many who have a quick glance at the Metrology Agency think it’s about rain or weather, ZMA is the watchdog that ensures you get value for your Money in terms of goods and services.

For instance, they make sure that the scale used to measure your beef once you buy is standardised and not fine tuned to suit the seller or the other way round. This cuts accross different fields from agriculture, mining to the petroleum industry.

Well, today ZMA held a media breakfast in Lusaka to highlight some of their achievements and challenges yester year and their future plans going forward.

The agency surpassed annual targets in key areas like non-tax revenue, verifications, and inspections and over 51,700 measuring instruments were verified for accuracy, exceeding the set target.

The event, graced by Mr. Elijah Mahamba, Chairperson of the Board Development and Public Affairs Committee of the 5th Board of the ZMA, featured the participation of directors from the agency, senior government officials, staff, and members of the press.

ZMA executive director Humphrey Nkobeni detailed the significant achievements of the agency in maintaining national measurement standards, accrediting five laboratories to international standards, and providing calibration services for over 3,300 measuring instruments.

In its endeavor to provide top-notch metrology services, the agency ensured that five (5) of its laboratories were accredited to the Quality Management System.

Nkobeni highlighted the agency’s success in enforcing the provisions of the Metrology Act No. 6 of 2017 through meticulous statutory compliance inspections, covering both locally produced and imported prepackaged commodities.

“Through a meticulous risk-based inspection approach, comprehensive inspections were conducted on both locally produced and imported prepackaged commodities at various stages such as importation, manufacturing, or through market surveillance.”

He said locally produced pre-packaged goods achieved a 95% compliance rate, reflecting improvement from previous years.

Nkobeni also revealed that 98.6 percent of imported pre-packaged goods and 100 percent of imported measuring instruments adhered to regulations.

Meanwhile, the agency also responded to consumer complaints, leading to 26 enforcement actions, including product seizures, cautions, and fines.

Nkobeni appealed to the public to report complaints related to measurements, emphasizing the agency’s commitment to regulatory enforcement.

“The agency received a combine 39 consumer complaints mainly from petroleum, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture,” he said.

“These complaints coupled with our planned inspections led to 26 enforcement actions, resulting in some product seizures, cautions, and fines.”

Nkobeni further announced the initiation of the ZMA Annual Media Awards, scheduled for December, aiming to celebrate excellence in journalism and recognize journalists contributing to the understanding of metrology’s impact on the national economy.

“Looking ahead to the year 2024, the agency will focus on developing its capacity to handle tasks in new areas like electricity meter testing, electric vehicle charging points, water meter testing, health, and road safety equipment,” added Nkobeni.

By Moses Makwaya

Kalemba February 21, 2024

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