Columnists Features

How to obtain permit to supply products

Zambia Bureau of Standards: HAZEL ZULU
Morning Hazel,
Just read your piece “Necessity of Standards”, very interesting and a good read. I am in the process of wanting to set up a water bottling plant and wanted to get the standards compliance requirements.
Please may you assist me or point me in the right direction?
Many thanks.
Thank you so much to David, who wrote to us to enquire about the requirements for setting up a water bottling plant. And thank you for taking time to read the said article.
We are happy to know that the information we are disseminating is useful to you and many others, who have responded in similar manner. Our message to all start-ups is that they should partner with Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) right from the initiation stages of their businesses so that from the onset, they do the right thing.
The first thing that we advised David to do is to buy the standard for bottled water which is ZS 388, a standard for bottled drinking water specification. This standard specifies the description, treatment, testing, packaging and labelling of bottled water for human consumption.
And so like David, we are urging all those who would like to venture into this business to ensure that they comply with the stipulations and requirements of this standard, which is available at a fee at ZABS.
What we need to know dear reader, is that bottled water is one of those products that fall under mandatory standards.
You may wish to know, David and the others, that we currently have over 2,000 standards for various products in Zambia developed, of course, by ZABS in collaboration with other stakeholders.
Another point to underscore is the fact that we have both mandatory and voluntary standards and of those, 54 standards are actually mandatory. Voluntary standards cannot be enforced by regulation while non-compliance to compulsory standards is a crime under the Laws of Zambia.
I want to congratulate you David for taking the bold and intelligent step to partner with ZABS right from the onset of setting up your business.
Water is one of those products that fall under mandatory standards and that means that producing bottled water without a permit to supply from ZABS and consequently, without adhering to ZS 388, is a violation of the Standards Act Cap 416 of the Laws of Zambia and may result in dire consequences to the perpetrator of such an act.
A permit to supply is simply a certificate authorising the marketing of a product to which a compulsory standard applies. And in the case of water, a compulsory standard ZS 388 applies as indicated above.
The applicant shall formally apply for a permit to supply using the appropriate forms that will be obtained from ZABS and shall complete all the sections.
The application form will then be completed and signed by an authorised representative who shall hold executive authority within the corporate structure or firm.
On acceptance of a completed application form and receipt of the application fee, the Bureau shall provide the applicant with an estimate of the time and cost required to conduct the initial inspection. Be forewarned dear reader that an incomplete application may result in delay in processing, hence the need for the applicant to ensure that all the required information is complete before returning the application to the Bureau.
Once the application is confirmed, an initial establishment inspection will be conducted at the proposed venue of the business to determine its ability to consistently meet specified operational requirements and standards for the product.
This of course will be undertaken on a date notified to the applicant, after processing the application. Other stages include sampling of the product and testing.
After that, a report will be generated based on the inspections conducted and a recommendation will be made. If there are any corrective actions to be undertaken, then the inspector from the Bureau will bring that to the attention of managers.
The decision as to whether or not to issue a permit to supply shall be taken by the Bureau on the basis of the information gathered during the evaluation or inspection process.
The Bureau shall officially notify the establishment of the decision to award a permit to supply. The establishment acquiring this permit to supply shall accept the laid down permit conditions and shall adhere to the requirements set forth by the Bureau.
So, are you planning on starting a business whose products fall under mandatory standards? Then you need to partner with ZABS.
Next week, we will publish a list of products that fall under mandatory standards for your information as well as some companies that have taken the leap to have their products certified. Take heed!
The author is head-marketing and public relations
For more information, contact:
The Director
Zambia Bureau of Standards
Lechwe House, Freedom way
P O Box 50259, Lusaka
Tel: 260-211-231385

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