By Fadzai Ndangana
Cotecna, a Swiss-based company specializing in testing, inspection, and certification services, is making significant progress in verifying the conformity of imported goods and issuing certificates of conformity in Zimbabwe. Cotecna which was appointed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in March last year, is playing a crucial role in combating the threat of counterfeit products in the country.
Under the contract with the ministry, Cotecna is responsible for issuing Certificates of Conformity on behalf of the government. The contract includes four Consignment Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) programs, covering general goods, used motor vehicles and spare parts, consolidated shipments, and destination inspections.
One of the key objectives of the CBCA program, introduced by the government in 2015, is to tackle the issue of counterfeited goods. All products entering the country must be certified in the country of supply or before arrival at Zimbabwe’s ports of entry. Failure to provide the mandatory Certificate of Conformity (COC) results in a Destination Inspection and a 15% CIF penalty paid to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Roy Bila, highlighted the importance of the CBCA program in the battle against counterfeit products.
“The importation of cheap and substandard goods can have detrimental effects on the health and environment of communities and can negatively impact the competitiveness of local industries,” he said.
Cotecna Vice President Verification of Conformity, Lena Södergren, expressed the company’s desire to expand their work and provide capacity building for local businesses.
“This initiative aims to help local businesses understand the work carried out by Cotecna and the benefits it brings,” she said.
With over 5,000 employees and a presence in more than 100 offices across approximately 50 countries, Cotecna brings extensive expertise and experience to the verification of conformity of imported goods in Zimbabwe. Their efforts are crucial in ensuring that only safe, compliant, and genuine products enter the country, protecting consumers and supporting the growth of local industries.