Editor's Comment

Verify measuring and weighing instruments

Prepaid water meter.

NOT long ago, it was typical for workers in Lusaka to venture out on weekends to look for meat – either to the east or south of the capital city.
They went to some famous butcheries or abattoirs which were a must visit when people got paid.
However, these abattoirs and butcheries are not popular any more for one simple reason – people realised they were being short changed by the meat vendors who had compromised their scales such that 15 kilogrammes of meat would weigh around 10kg.
This apparently went on for a long time until some unsuspecting customers went with the own scales for verification and what they discovered was extremely shocking by the realisation of how long they had been robbed by those fraudsters who masqueraded as butchermen.
This is one of the reasons farmers are not willing to sell their maize to some private buyers because they genuinely believe they are being cheated out of their produce through faulty scales.
They have every reason not to sell their maize to every jim and jack.
Customers should get corresponding value for their money.
It is for that reason that we commend the Zambia Weights and Measures Agency (ZWMA) for verifying different measuring and weighing instruments being used in commerce and trade in our country.
According to ZWMA chief executive officer Himba Cheelo, 8,865 of the instruments were verified of which 935 failed the accuracy test. The 935 represents 10.5 percent.
That 10 percent of the measuring and weighing instruments could not meet the agency’s set standards is serious. It means that our people have lost their hard-earned revenue on falsely measured and weighed products.
It is simple logic that traders in the products which were subjected to the defective measuring and weighing instruments made a significant amount profit unlawfully.
Moreover, it is possible that they did so with the full knowledge of the unfitness of their instruments.
That could plainly be said to be theft, especially if no corrective interventions were made by the traders before officers from the Zambia Measurements and Weights Agency conducted the verification.
Of course, at certain levels, the 10 percent of instruments below par in the accuracy test, could be almost inconsequential, probably even paid a blind eye, but not at the level of our national economy. 10 percent is too much. We need to lower it significantly.
Once we do that, there will be gains in the economy. The end users will get the correct measurements and weights for their goods. Money must be respected, so goods should reflect its value.
No one wants to pay more money for underweight and wrongly measured products unless they want to waste it. The point is let us pay the correct amount of money for the correct amount of goods. That is fairness, which only goes to strengthen an economy.
All economies grow and desire to grow. The opposite is also true of all economies; they slide back and do not wish to do that.
There are many factors, should we say dynamics that cause economies to progress or regress. One of them is the issue at hand.
It is the issue of proper measurements and weights for goods being traded in an economy. This is important since commerce and trade are the essential foundation of any economy. It is not possible to have an economy without that.
Proper and correct conduct of business by way of applying correct measurements and weights will benefit the growth of our national economy.
We thus urge all stakeholders to fight against usage of incorrect measurements and weights in trade through close collaboration with ZWMA.
This is important because cheating with regard to weights and measurements for products has become rampant and if serious efforts are not made by the stakeholders, it would soon degenerate into a situation where it becomes acceptable or a ‘necessary evil’. No. the cheating should be faced head-on.
Theft is theft, whether by organised businesses or just individuals and it has an undesirable impact on our economy.
It does not spare those who trade ethically, which is why we emphasise the need for all in our nation to support Government through ZWMA to ensure the social ill is dealt with seriously.
We need sound conduct of business all the time because our country is in a hurry to develop.
We support ZWMA. It is doing a good job. But the agency can only go so far and do so much. We all need to work with the agency to deal with false measurements and weights.

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