The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has intensified the campaign against the sale of fake goods in the country, the latest being the destruction of goods worth Shs900 million at Luweero Industries in Nakasongola District.
The destruction of goods follows countrywide seizures carried out by the UNBS Market Surveillance team and the Criminal Investigations Department of the Uganda Police Force.
The destroyed goods were mainly substandard products which included food stuffs, baby powdered milk, cement, sanitary towels, cosmetics, electronics, steel and steel products, among others.
According to the UNBS Deputy Executive Director in charge of Compliance, Mr. John Paul Musimami, the destruction is part of UNBS’ effort to protect consumers from substandard products. “Substandard products are not only dangerous to the health and wellbeing of consumers, they are also a threat to the economic development of our country,” Mr. Musimami said.
“Our role is to promote fair competition, enhance competitiveness of local industries and protect health and safety of Ugandans and the environment,” he added. The destroyed goods amounting to 4 metric tonnes, the official said, would have otherwise caused increased disease burden and robbed the consumers of their money.
The manufacture or sale of sub-standard products is a criminal offence under the UNBS Act Cap 327, Laws of Uganda.
The UNBS carries out regular market inspections to ensure that traders are selling quality products in right quantities. Any substandard goods found on the market are seized by UNBS Market Surveillance inspectors.
UNBS, last year, inspected 1,090 business outlets and seized goods worth Shs6 billion including solar panels, primary batteries, percolators, sockets, compact fluorescent lamps, tiles, blenders, among others.
“We shall continue to seize substandard products on the market and prosecute traders involved in illicit trade,” Mr. Musimami said, urging the public to report suspicious goods on the market to UNBS.
The UNBS also banned the sale of second hand under garments and beauty products that contain mercury and hydroquinone which are harmful to human health.
However, some of the goods continue to be imported into the Ugandan market by smugglers through porous borders and entry points where UNBS has no presence.
UNBS is responsible for developing and promoting standards and quality of products and services to facilitate fair trade, promote local industries and protect consumers.