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All cement sold in Mozambique, whether produced locally or imported, must be certified by 30 September, and must have a quality certification mark stamped on its packaging, the general director of the National Norms and Quality Institute (INNOQ), Alfredo Sitoe, announced at a Maputo press conference on Monday.
In addition to the quality certification, each sack of cement must be labeled with an expiry date, in order to assure consumers that it is safe to use.
Sitoe said these measures will allow building contractors and inspectors, and members of the public, to be confident of the quality of cement. He believed that after September “uncertified cement will not be accepted on the market”.
Sitoe urged importers of cement to contact INNOQ which will inform them of the requirements to be followed in order to obtain the quality certificate.
At the same press conference, Virginia Muianga, the director of industry and trade operations in the National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE), warned that INAE will be strict in controlling the conditions under which cement is stored and sold.
Sacks of cement may no longer be sold at the side of roads, where they are exposed to the elements, said Muianga. Brigades will be established to check on conditions in warehouses storing cement and to remove cement stored under improper conditions.
By September nobody will be allowed to sell sacks of cement on sheets of tarpaulin stretched across streets in the open air, she declared.
Other measures of inspection will include checking the weight of sacks of cement. They should contain 50 kilos, but it is feared that some retailers are cheating their customers by filling sacks with less than 50 kilos.
Anyone violating the rules for transporting and selling cement will be fined between 10 and 60 times the minimum wage, depending on the seriousness of the offence.
The current minimum wage in the public administration is 3,996 meticais (67 US dollars) a month. The fines would thus be between 39,960 and 239,760 meticais.
Muianga also announced that, over the past fortnight, INAE has ordered the closure of 17 establishments out of 853 inspected, for a variety of offences, usually concerning threats to public health. The INAE brigades also confiscated goods past their expiry date valued at 18,840 meticais.Source: AIM