Following yesterday’s statement by the Uganda Law Society (ULS) that the country’s standards regulator, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards recently granted members of the Kampala City Traders Association to import fake products, the agency has come out to deny that it ever issued such grace period to traders.
“As the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), we are greatly perturbed and dismayed by the statement issued today by Uganda Law Society (ULS) and signed by its President, Simon Peter Kinobe, about the apparent “grace period granted to Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) to import fake products. The statement is full of inaccuracies, innuendos, and gross misrepresentation of facts. We would like to urge the public to treat with contempt it deserves,” UNBS statement says.
UNBS in the statement has blasted ULS for not seeking clarity with them before making the statement on the purported grace period given to KCITA. “It is unfortunate that the ULS did not make any effort to seek clarity from UNBS or carry out basic research to establish the facts but they instead rushed to issue a statement based on misinformation being propagated on social media,” reads part of the statement.
UBBS should not have used fake news on social media to make its statement but rather that is should have consulted with the agency first. “Some people on social media misconstrued this to mean that UNBS had given “KACITA a grace period to import fake products” which was the basis of ULS Statement,” the statement says.
UNBS defends itself by saying that July 9, 2018, it only issued an administrative directive containing new guidelines for importation of garments into the country which require that all consignments of imported garments should be accompanied by the PVoC Certificates of Conformity.
As a result, it continues, all imported garments will have to be tagged for UNBS inspection and clearance, at Customs clearance points, before they are allowed on the market.
The statement partly says that on August 7, 2018, as part of our standard working procedures, UNBS met with importers of garments to raise awareness and ensure compliance to the new guidelines for importation of garments into the country and that the traders were thus given up to September 15, 2018 to comply with the new PVoC directive. “After deadline, all garments must be accompanied by PVoC Certificates of Conformity,” statement reads further.
The agency says that all products covered by compulsory standards have to undergo inspection for compliance to Uganda Standards before they are imported into the country through the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC), which has been and continues to be the practice since 2013 when the programme was first introduced.
Fighting substandard products requires a concerted effort involving UNBS working together with manufacturers, traders, consumers, and other government agencies, it says.
UNBS says it will continue to perform its mandate of enforcing standards to protect consumer health and safety and the environment against dangerous and sub-standard products. “As result of the PVoC programme, last financial year, UNBS was able to stop 33 million substandard products from being imported into the country,” it says.