2 February 2017

Uganda: Harmful Counterfeit Products Flood Lira

Lira — Lira District leaders have confirmed that substandard goods packaged in images and names of fast-selling brands are flooding the local market.

The district secretary for production, natural resources and marketing, Mr Anthony Ojuka, said the substandard goods include electronics, agricultural products, medicine, iron-sheets, pens, books and beauty products.

"The issue of counterfeit products is real," he said at a meeting organised by the ministry of Trade at Pauline Hotel, Lira Town on Tuesday. He added that 40 per cent of the products sold in the area is substandard.

"We have places in Lira where they tell you this phone is substandard and this one is original, and you find people buying the fake ones because they are cheap," Mr Ojuka told Daily Monitor in a separate interview.

The counterfeit and suspicious products have shrewd similarity in label and package to popular brands. The difference is found only in the content or ingredients with some, such as medicines, being chalk or mixtures of chemicals that could harm you, according to Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).

UNBS deputy executive director in charge compliance, Mr John Paul Musimami, acknowledged the problem, explaining that substandard goods come into the market through the imported products and locally manufactured goods. They also come into the market through smuggling.

"So for those that are imported into the country, UNBS has the programme whereby we have agents all over the world who are inspecting those goods before they come into the country," he told Daily Monitor on Tuesday.

"If you come at the point of entry you must have a certificate of conformity. Going forward UNBS is introducing a compulsory import standardisation mark," he said, adding: "We want all imported goods to have stickers; when you go in the market you look out for those stickers on goods to ascertain that they have been inspected."

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