30 January 2013

Uganda: Fake Extension Cables, Cooking Oil Flood Market

Consumers of electrical appliances have been asked to watchout for fake electric appliances, especially extension cables, which have flooded the market.

The warning comes after the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) intercepted substandard products at the entry points of Uganda, of which the largest percentage were electrical extension cables.

Edward Wagongoba , a UNBS technician said many consumers do not have adequate knowledge on electrical appliances and end up buying substandard appliances.

"It is hard for an ordinary consumer to know that the cable they are buying is fake," Wagongoba noted.

He said most of the cables that were intercepted had only two wires instead of three, putting the life of the consumer in danger.

"A normal cable should have three wires; a live wire, neutral wire and the earth wire that supports and protects assets in case of electric shocks," Wagongoba explained.

He added that the problem has been made worse by the many plugin holes on the extension cables, which over load the appliance.

"The many holes make a consumer believe that they can load as many items as possible, but once they are inserted, the whole system crashes," Wagongoba said.

UNBS also warned the public about substandard cooking oil on the market, especially in Naluwerere in Bugiri district.

Results from the standards agency's chemistry laboratory for the sampled oil from the area indicated that the oil is not fit for human consumption.

Eng. Vincent Ochwo, the UNBS head of market surveillance, said the tests were done after receiving several complaints from members of the public regarding the siphoning of crude edible vegetable oil from the tankers that transport it from Kenya.

"This oil is imported into the country as a raw material and is supposed to be delivered to manufacturing industries for further refining before being brought to the market. But we have information that some unscrupulous people siphon the oil from the tankers, package it in containers of known brand names and sell it to unsuspecting members of the public around Naluwerere and neighbouring districts," Ochwo said.

According to the Bugiri district Police commander, the unscrupulous dealers are mostly unemployed youth.

There have been several operations by the Police and UNBS to crack down on the vice and arrests have been made.

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