SAZ moves in to standardise ICTs

The Standard Association of Zimbabwe recently held a conference with relevant ICT stakeholders in a move to lobby the implementation of ICT standards that will mark the touchstone of Zimbabwean ICTs.
The event was graced by participants from Computer Society of Zimbabwe, ICT suppliers of Zimbabwe, ZIMRA, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Power Company , Ministry of ICT among others to represent various bodies.
The move comes right in time when the proliferation of fake computing products has taken its toll with most unsuspecting users being duped of their hard earned currency.
The managing Director of Standard Association of Zimbabwe Mrs Eve Gadzikwa commended all the stake holders for pushing such initiatives which would see some ill practices in the ICT sector which for long were going unchecked coming to an end.
“As the ICTs are a very pivotal sector of the economy, it is very important that we all take standardisation seriously and I salute all company representatives who have taken time to be part of this great initiative”, she said
Today most Zimbabweans can import and sell whatsoever ICT product they want so long as it’s profitable with the customers at the receiving end, greatly suffering in the long run. Issues of substandard products in ICTs have gone unchecked mainly because on non-regulatory policies.
The SAZ, CCZ and the ministry of ICT are closely working together in crafting the new ICT policy that would stem out such nefarious activities to bring sanity to the industry.
During an interview ,Mr Ian Joule of first computers highlighted the need we urgently swarm in to curb illicit activities where even known brands stickers are being sold on fake computing products making it very difficult to distinguish between the two.
“Intellectual properties are also infringed and wasting money replacing on cheap products,” he added
In Kenya the government has collapsed the whole economy into an ICT based. This has managed to lift Kenya as the best ICT developing country in Africa with most tech hubs situated in the East African country.
The Director Operations of Standard Association of Zimbabwe Mr Cyril Siringwani said “We are in the process of lobbying government through the ministry of industry commerce and trade for an import export bill that will regularise the anomaly”
Kenya actually certifies products before they are imported into their country, for any ICT product, A certain prototype would need to first go through the authorities , vetted before its certified or disqualified to circle within the market.
These are such moves which our own local bodies would need to take seriously and at least start by creating known groups bodies who can actually test and certify brands, both known and unknown to protect our market.
It was also good noting the presence of some Zimra officials who are very instrumental in making sure that unwarranted products do not see the other side of our border line. With the removal of duty on ICT products, this has also created a haven for bogus operators who care less about impacting the economy but profiteering.
A very critical point was raised by the ICT Supplier’s President Mr Artwell Mkusha on managing computing wastes. He said he was recently in Bulawayo where he witnessed Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) monitors being dumped in heaps at undesignated areas.
“This creates serious environmental degradation considering the chemical and electrical composition found in those old monitors, this is very much against the e-green policies we have been advocating for years.” He said
While Zimbabweans seriously need to advance Its ICT literacy rates and embrace practical usage of computers, we have completely turned a blind eye to the ramifications of receiving some old computers all in the guise of donated products.
Some countries are easily managing their e-waste by deliberately dumping their tired computers to Zimbabwe and other African countries, which in turn we won’t use for much longer before we contemplate dumping them to our own environmental degradation.
Recycling such products would make a great deal of sense but considering that we do not have such machinery and worse off policies, bring the initiative to a naught.
Industrial policies and standards implementation have been the greatest set back in the ICT industry where most organisations operate at their own discretion.
Government and policy supervisors can work closely with our local watch dogs to see the implementation of internationally known standards.
Yet another problem is a case where most organisations are barking much louder than they can bite, they have been presented with lots of responsibility yet,with little or no authority at all, leading to unaccountability wrongfully setting the precedence
During the same conference, Mr Pillay of First computers South Africa concurred that ICT policies and standardisation have always faced resistance the world all over to be implemented with the ex-Computer Society Of Zimbabwe president Mr John Dawson advocating for more tactical measures to yield implementation.
He said that it would be much faster and easier to highlight to the company directors only the serious consequences of non-implementation and transferring the not so obvious risk and responsibilities to their offices should anything happen due to policy non implementation
Most organisations in Zimbabwe are still finding ICTs as an expense and implementation of ICT statutes and policy faces natural resistance across boards. Although all company heads appreciate ICTs as enablers, it was noted that most of organisations turn to resist changes and ICT related policies.
it is high time all the organisations implement the ISO standard framework their workplace. These frameworks also come handy when running an organisation during extra ordinary circumstances that may arise as the frameworks clearly stipulates certain procedure follow ups
The South African based Information Security officer Mr Pillay, said he would urge corporates to at least implement the ISO 27000/2 as a starting point for non-implementing organisation.

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