Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has confiscated substandard goods worth Shs 6bn in the last financial year ending June 30, 2017.
Mr John Paul Musimami, Deputy Executive Director in charge of Compliance said the category of goods seized included electrical appliances, cosmetics, Agricultural inputs, second hand undergarments, food and steel products and that they did not meet the Uganda Standard.
‘’We inspected over 1,000 business centers countrywide and made 183 seizures. 10 culprits were convicted and over 60 cases are being investigated,” Musimani commented.
“With the launch of the Utilities and Standards court, delays in case-hearing will no longer be heard off,’’ he added.
The counterfeit segment has grown to become larger than life, generating huge incomes for the perpetrators at the expense of the consumers, the original manufacturers and the economy in general.
This way, the economy loses potential employment opportunities as genuine manufacturers and employers of labour are hindered because of illegal activities.
Investors are discouraged, thus dealing a deadly blow at government’s efforts at encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI).
But UNBS said it denied entry of over 6,000 potentially harmful products into the country.
A total worth of Shs 595,384,000 were rejected and destroyed by the Imports Inspection team during the same financial year, according to UNBS.
UNBS is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and it is responsible for matters of Standardization, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing.
Some analysts have previously observed the influx of counterfeit and sub-standard products into the domestic market raises serious doubts about the current efforts by the government to resuscitate the real sector for it to contribute meaningfully to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The UNBS noted that priorities for the next financial year include preferential and quick clearance of industrial inputs, industrial machinery, spare parts and raw materials from the current 5 days to 1 day and improving consumption of locally produced goods by increasing UNBS certified goods on the market.
It also plans to verify at least 70,000 electricity meters; focus on the inspections of electrical appliances, cosmetics, agricultural inputs and pneumatic tyres through market surveillance; and increase tagging of goods under mandatory standards from the current 340 to 800.
UNBS also intends to reduce the turnaround time for the verification fuel road tankers; increase enforcement of the mandatory standards; acquire a digital rig to intervene in the verification of milk tankers, railway wagons and underground tanks.
The body said it aims at implementing Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU): Testing and Calibration services and support MSMEs especially in the area of Standards Development.