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UNBS tightens grip on fake goods

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th October 2007 03:00 AM

A person who imports counterfeit products is to pay three times the cost of the goods, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards’ (UNBS) quality assurance manager, Deusdedit Mubangizi, has said.

A person who imports counterfeit products is to pay three times the cost of the goods, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards’ (UNBS) quality assurance manager, Deusdedit Mubangizi, has said.

By David Muwanga and Alice Kiingi

A person who imports counterfeit products is to pay three times the cost of the goods, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards’ (UNBS) quality assurance manager, Deusdedit Mubangizi, has said.

“If you imported goods worth sh20m and they are found to be counterfeit, you will have to pay a penalty of sh60m,” Mubangizi told reporters at a training session about the operations of the bureau at Nakawa, Kampala.

The training was part of activities to mark this year’s World Standards Day under the theme “Standards and the Citizens: Contributing to Society.”

He said archaic laws are responsible for the increase in the importation of counterfeit products.

“The law gives a penalty of between sh3,000 and sh30,000. We recently impounded 300 cartons of expired beers and the person paid only sh30,000,” Mubangizi said.

He said a survey carried out by the bureau showed that problems in Uganda’s market including sale of expired food products, tempering with expiry dates on food and food products labelled in foreign languages especially Arabic.

Others include products with high pathogenic organisms, sale of products that do not function and those that can injure consumers.

“We have “enterprising” Ugandans who pick empty bottles of Vim and fill them with cassava flour.”

Meanwhile, 26 cartons (15,580 pieces) of sub-standard padlocks worth $9,862 (sh17m) are to be re-exported to Dubai, the bureau’s head of import inspection has said.

Gyaviira Musoke said: “The consignment was inspected in July. It was found that a key could open several different padlocks, a threat to security, contrary to the requirement that padlocks shall be individually keyed.”

According to the UNBS imports inspection and clearance regulations 2002, the 50mm padlocks specified as FF Italy are to be re-exported through the Malaba station.

The goods, which attract about sh8.6m in taxes, would be re-exported through the Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) customs process and witnessed by the bureau’s import officials.

The clearing agent, Novelty Agencies, will lodge a re-export entry with URA proving that the goods are re-exported in order to be refunded the taxes.

Sehil Kumar, the general manager of Max Imports and Exports, said: “In an effort to avoid total loss to an importer, we made an effort to take the samples to the country of origin for confirmation of the irregularities in the supplied products.”

“We shall compel the supplier to meet the re-exportation costs and refund the money originally paid for the goods,” Kumar said in a letter written to the UNBS executive director received on September 25.

The consignment was imported in container number FCIU 24105/3 by Max Imports and Exports whose offices are at Nabugabo Road in Kampala.

Vincent Ochwo, the UNBS head of engineering, said a genuine padlock should be resistant to rust when exposed to heat or cold.

Ochwo said the plug where the key enters should be firm (shouldn’t come out of the padlock case when the key is pulled out).

Other products that were re-exported last month include 400 portable immersion water heaters and 100 cartons of Bint el Sudan Petroleum Jelly. The products had been imported by Robanne (U) Ltd and Makoha Peter respectively.

UNBS tightens grip on fake goods

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