The Marketers Association held its first event of the year by hosting the Marketers Luncheon where key topics discussed were the 2020 Economic Overview as well as the Consumer Protection Act.

The event held at the Cresta Lodge in Harare on February 12, 2020 saw renowned economist and Bullion Group managing director Mr Persistence Gwanyanya sharing his expertise on the country’s economic standing and expectations in 2020.

At the same event top corporate lawyer and MAZ Board member Mr Lyndon Nkomo and Client Management executive Mr Tichaona Gandanhamo unpacked the consumer Protection Act and outlined its implications to Marketers.

In his presentation, Mr Gwanyanya stated that economy was showing signs of re-dollarisation and said that had effect on revenue collection targets by Treasury.

“The economy is showing signs of re-dollarisation. Our economy is re-dollarising posing yet another risk to the growth that the Ministry of Finance is projecting. The dangers of re-dollarisation is that as we re-dollarise, it means that the revenue performance that was projected by Treasury is going to be impacted negatively.”

“Treasury projects to collect revenue of around $58, 6 billion this year but because as we redollarise the flair of the 2% intermediated tax is going to be impacted as people now transact in US dollars,” said Mr Gwanyanya.

Mr Gwanyanya said Zimbabwe requires more than 10 percent of investment to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio if it is to achieve the Transitional Stabilisation Program (TSP) growth projections.

He highlighted that as it is the country’s investment to GDP ratio stands at around six percent reflecting much need for investment in the country’s economy.

Mr Gwanyanya said coupled with productivity the country was in dire need of investment to attain the growth projections as set by the TSP.

“Today Zimbabwe’s investment is around 6 percent of GDP, to sustain a growth along with TSP growth projections of around 6-7 percent this economy needs to increase its investment to GDP.

“And to sustain the projected growth we need an investment to GDP ratio of around 10 percent,” he said.

As such he indicated that, there is no country that grows without a good investment backbone.

He however highlighted some of the critical areas that require sprucing up if the country is to attract the much needed investment especially on the policy front.

To add on to the investment barriers the country last year went through challenges induced  by  natural catastrophes that led to out of budget spending  dire electricity outages curtailing industry’s capacity utilisation.

“…do we expect investment to increase faced with electricity challenges political impasse and administrative flaws, all these factors will weigh against the government growth projections,” he said.

The luncheon also saw experts unpacking the Consumer Protection Act [Chapter 14:14] which was gazetted as Act No. 5 of 2019 on Tuesday 10th December 2019. The Act came into force as law on that date.

Suppliers and consumers of goods and services should be aware that many provisions of the Act are already operational – such as the Part spelling out Fundamental Consumer Rights and the Part applicable to Electronic Transactions.

The Act also makes provision for enforcement of consumer rights in addition to recourse to courts of law, both civil and criminal. These include a Consumer Protection Commission, Consumer Protection Advocacy Groups, provision for other consumer protection organisations and consumer protection officers.

Presenting on the Consumer Protection Act, lawyer, Mr Nkomo highlighted that the new Act seeks to reinforce ethical business practise within the country.

“What it does is, it mitigates the risk of exposure to significant liabilities and therefore it gives your business the lifeline to continue operating,” said Mr Nkomo.

Mr Gandanhano said the New Act gives consumers the right to cancel a transaction or reject goods within 7 days

“It does not apply to all products and services, they are highlighted in the Act. Say for example when  I am still in the process of decision making, I may have signed a facility letter but I have not drawn down the line, I’m in the process of decision making and I say I no longer need that facility , there is room for me to withdraw without penalties.

But for where I would have used the money, it’s as good as early repayment of the loan,” said Gandanhamo.

Gandanhamo says the new law has an obligation to respect the customer and there are eight customer rights in the Act.

Gwanyanya weighed in saying consumers did not have the clout or right to protect themselves in the past and the new Act empowers them.

Mr Gandanhamo concurred with Gwanyanya saying previously customers had nowhere to go as the Consumer council of Zimbabwe was not really protective to the consumer.

After the presentations and penal discussions, Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, Marketing and Operations Manager, Enia Zimunya unveiled the MAZ will also unveil its 2020 Calendar, highlighting major events and trainings for the year!