The Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency (ZCSA) administers and monitors the quality and safety of products covered under compulsory standards on the market through inspections and related activities under the Import Quality Monitoring and Domestic Quality Monitoring Departments in line with World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO TBT) Agreement guidelines and other international and regional best practices. The mandate of these inspections only extends to products that are regulated under the Compulsory Standards Act. Currently the Agency administers 60 compulsory standards. A recommendation has been made to declare an additional 47 products to be covered under this law.
About Import Quality Monitoring
The liberalisation of the Zambian economy in the 1990s led to an influx of imported goods on the market. Additionally, the introduction of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) free trade area, further increased the importation of various goods into the country from various parts of the region.
This resulted in an increase in the number of consumer complaints about the quality of some imported products. Zambian consumers were concerned that the country had become a dumping ground for inferior or substandard goods.
The Zambian Government through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry realised that there was need to curb the influx of substandard goods and issued Statutory Instrument No. 41 of 2003 (extended by SI 78) which established the Import Quality Monitoring Scheme (IQMS) under the inspectorate department of the Zambia Bureau of Standards to regulate imported products subject to compulsory standards.
Following the establishment of the ZCSA on 1st January, 2018, this function was transferred to the Agency and such inspections are conducted by the Import Quality Department. The inspections are aimed at ensuring compliance of imported products with Compulsory Standards. This helps to ensure that only safe products are sold to consumers.
The Agency has presence at the following entry points: Nakonde, Chirundu, Kazungula, Katima Mulilo, Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Mwami and Chanida borders. The Agency also has a Central Processing Centre(CPC) which monitors imports in all of the borders, including where ZCSA has no physical presence.
Schemes for Clearance of General goods
1. Batch Import Clearance -This scheme involves batch by batch clearance of goods every time an importation is made. The consignment can also be pre-cleared (clearing the consignment before it arrives at the point of entry).
2. Pre-Import Scheme- This scheme enables an importer to declare the goods to be imported in a period of six (6) months. Inspection is conducted twice in the six (6) months.
3. Annual Import Quality Certification Scheme- This scheme enables an importer to declare the goods to be imported in a period of one year. Eligibility to this scheme is based on satisfactory technical findings of the last four consecutive consignments inspected, sampled and tested by the Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency. These findings should also be consistent with foreign or international standards, and the applicable standards declared under the Compulsory Standards Act.
The validity is twelve (12) months from the date of full payment or upon full importation of the declared quantity. Validity of the certificate covers products from the supplier and country of origin declared. This certificate cannot be used to cover other suppliers of the same product. The Agency conducts four (04) random inspections to ensure continued compliance with compulsory standards.
Statutory fees are payable on all the above schemes.