19 November 2012

Uganda: State Reinstates Pre-Import System

Kampala — Following the approval of the Pre-Import Verification of Conformity (PVoC) to Standards programme, stakeholders have been urged to back the initiative if efforts to control the influx sub-standard goods are to be sustained.

The policy that requires imports entering Uganda be inspected at the point of origin, had been instituted to curb the entry of substandard goods, which had threatened trade in the country but was lifted following allegations of corruption and fraud.

The increased entry of substandard imports this year forced the Trade Minister, Amelia Kyambadde to put up a case for the lifting of the ban that had earlier been put on the programme.

Uganda recently planned to impose a ban on some vehicles imported from Japan due to the nuclear radiation that they emit following reports that the nuclear explosion had contaminated some of them.

The explosion was caused by a Tsunami that hit the country at the beginning of 2011 leading to an explosion at the Fukishima nuclear plant affecting residential areas and automobile makers.

Many of the affected cars were recalled from the market but some have ended up being exported into various markets.

Mr. Silver Ojakol, Commissioner External Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives told the East African Business Week in a telephone interview that the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and other stakeholders had already adopted PIVoC and that would help in eliminating the affected vehicles.

"The PIVoC will help us but also the Japanese government is making sure that the radioactive vehicles are not exported. Service providers are also ensuring that they get vehicles that are not radioactive," Ojakol told said.

Barbara Kamusiime, the Public Relations Officer at UNBS also told the East African Business Week that the body had procured equipment for testing radioactive levels of the vehicles imported.

"The equipment has been delivered and starting December 3, 2012 we shall be using it for checking radioactive levels on the units imported," she said.

However, Mr. Everest Kayongo, the Chairperson of Kampala City Traders' Association (KACITA) says that the PVoC will definitely affect traders.

He said, "It (PVoC) will affect us in terms of the waiting period and the cost attached. There will be more inefficiency as UNBS shall think that everything is done for them and instead of checking for quality, they will concentrate on the certificate issued by foreign firms."

The PIVoC mechanism was in the beginning stopped at the request of the private sector sighting the high costs involved.

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