Govt fails to release CCZ funds

HARARE - The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) is yet to receive its Z$293 million budgetary allocation for 2007 sources at the consumer watchdog said.
CCZ is funded by government and was promised $293 million, $116 million more than the amount it requested under the 2007 National Budget, but t

hese funds have not been released.
The consumer protection body is presently operating on a shoestring budget and continues to scrounge from leftovers of the $19 million advance it received from government last year.
Last year CCZ had to request for a supplementary allocation after the $7, 7 million it had been given had run out in midstream.
Financial constraints could see CCZ fail to undertake its activities planned in line with proposals by Consumers International to which national consumer bodies are affiliated. “We have limitations. Availability of funds determines our ability to reach out, the staff we work with and the infrastructure.
“Finance also determines how many times we go on television and the space we can buy in the newspapers. “As things stand, we only rely on journalists to publish stories on us as we cannot afford to pay for airtime or space in newspapers,” CCZ Roseline Siyachitema was quoted saying..
CCZ is regarded as a non-profit making organisation and this makes it difficult for the consumer body to come up with ways of raising funds to supplement the government grants. Siyachitema indicated that government was the most interested stakeholder with regard to consumers’ right and by virtue of that had taken the burden to fund CCZ’s activities.
The delays in the disbursement of the funds notwithstanding, Siyachitema said CCZ was grateful for the role played by government in supporting consumer protection.
CCZ is one of the only three consumer bodies in Africa that receive funding from            government, the others being in Mauritius and Ethiopia.
She said the consumer council understood government’s dilemma in providing funds as many other critical areas also yearned for support. Although financial constraints are the biggest inhibiting factor to success of the consumer body’s undertakings, it has on many occasions simply been dismissed as a toothless bulldog.
Siyachitema said CCZ also does not have the legal standing to prosecute and this was another reason people think it is not effective. CCZ will this year lobby government for a national consumer policy. South Africa and Malawi already have such policies in place and this will also require a lot of funds.
The consumer body will also set up focus desks in strategic places in the communities to enhance consumers’ access to its services. – Business reporter

Post published in: Economy

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