“ZMA Reports Significant Compliance Improvement in Q1 2024”

By Francis Maingaila

Lusaka, Zambia24 (10-05-2024) – Zambia Metrology Agency (ZMA) recorded an impressive improvement in the compliance rate of locally made commodities in the first quarter of 2024, reaching 90% compared to the first quarter of 2023.

Humphrey Nkobeni, the Executive Director and CEO at ZMA, told journalists at a media briefing that during this period, the agency conducted 15,757 statutory verifications, surpassing the target of 15,116, achieving a 104% accomplishment, which marks a 74% increase compared to the same period in 2023.

Nkobeni said the verifications covered various instruments such as petroleum fuel dispensers, bulk flowmeters, fuel tankers, food and liquor dispensers, weighbridges, trade scales, industrial test weights, length, and volume measures.

Additionally, Nkobeni said 661 voluntary calibrations were performed, supporting sectors like health, agriculture, mining, aviation, manufacturing, and construction.

Moreover, Nkobeni said the agency inspected 188,308 locally produced prepackaged commodities and 88,931 imported ones, both achieving a compliance rate of 96%.

Furthermore, Nkobeni said market surveillance activities led to the inspection of 3,048 prepackaged commodities, with an 88% compliance rate.

He explained that 404,338 were inspected in local industries, achieving a compliance rate of 91%. Additionally, Nkobeni said 124 imported measuring instruments were found to be 100% compliant.

He said inspection and verification of measuring instruments and prepackaged goods contribute to the nation’s sustainability efforts by quantifying the resources utilized and produced.

During the same period, Nkobeni explained that ZMA recorded various offenses that resulted in enforcement actions, including the false presentation or declaration of net misleading labeling contrary to the provisions of the Content and Metrology Act No. 6 of 2017.

“This was noted in some brands of soya pieces, cement, mealie meal, charcoal, sugar, bread, pasta, macaroni, and roofing sheets. Other offenses included the use of non-type approved and unverified instruments, defacing a sticker from the weighing scale, use of fake or forged verification stickers, and use of unlicensed technicians,” he said.

He said enforcement actions included caution, seizure, fines, directives to repackage, and presentation of noncompliant measuring instruments for type approval and verification.

He said consumer complaints received during the quarter, which amounted to ten, relate to misleading labels of prepackaged sugar, suspected wrong thickness of roofing sheets, suspected underweight loaves of bread, suspected use of faulty trade scales, allegations of false declaration of building blocks, suspected faulty petrol fuel pumps at service stations, suspected under-reading of bulk flow meters at fuel depots, and suspected underweight bags of mealie meals.

“All these matters were thoroughly investigated and closed or passed on to relevant government agencies,” he said.

He appealed to members of the public and the business community to report all suspected noncompliances to ZMA or any sector government agency.

Nkobeni revealed that ZMA will celebrate this year’s International UNESCO World Metrology Day, focusing on “Sustainability,” as recognized by UNESCO.

He said accurate measurements play a crucial role in building a sustainable future, underscoring the global significance of metrology.

“The agency is actively raising awareness about sustainability’s implications for metrology through various initiatives. Zambia will mark World Metrology Day on May 21 with a Business Sustainability Conference involving stakeholders from diverse sectors,” he noted.

Metrology plays a pivotal role in supporting sustainability initiatives across multiple sectors.

He said the preparations for the UNESCO World Metrology Day underscore our collective commitment to harnessing the power of metrology to address pressing global challenges and build a more sustainable future for generations to come.

This can only be achieved when we can measure the effects of our actions today on environmental sustainability for the present and future.

“I therefore invite each one of you to join us on this important journey towards a world where accurate measurement is not just a means to an end but a fundamental driver of sustainability and progress. ZMA appreciates the important role of the media in disseminating information to the public,” he concluded.

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