HARDWARE traders in the Rwenzori region have asked Government to extend the deadline for the ban on sale of twisted iron bars for at least three more months
By Geoffrey Mutegeki Araali
HARDWARE traders in the Rwenzori region have asked Government to extend the deadline for the ban on sale of twisted iron bars for at least three more months to save them from incurring losses.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) banned the sale of twisted steel bars in May and gave traders up to July 1st to have sold out their stock.
During a consultative meeting held at Fort Fun City hotel, in Fort Portal town, traders who were drawn from all over the Rwenzori region asked the Government to lift the ban for three more months.
"We had already stocked the bars. What are we going to do with these bars? You all know it wasn't our fault in the first place to buy these twisted bars," said Micheal Nuwagaba, the manager Pride trading company hardware.
Dereck Kusemererwa, of Hardrock Investment also asked the Government to offer the traders sometime to save them the losses.
"You should at least give us three more months to put ourselves in order," Kusemererwa said.
David Tumusiime, a police officer in-charge of Kibito Police post expressed the same concern.
"People need to be given some time so that even when the Police come in, we shall be able to implement this law when all sides are satisfied," Tumusiime said
Eric Tusingwire wondered if it was possible to let the traders sell the banned iron bars in other countries.
The UNBS's head of testing departing, John Okumu, revealed that the standards body wants ribbed steel bars that conform to the East African and Ugandan standards for steel bars for the reinforcement of concrete.
"We want twisted bars removed from the market. They are old fashion and not good for construction, especially in this region which is prone to earthquakes. We need ribbed bars," Okumu said
He revealed that ribbed iron bars are strong and can hold concrete more than the twisted ones.
"After July 1, we shall be arresting all those who will be selling the twisted iron bars," Okumu said.
He said consumers who have purchased the twisted bars can go ahead and use them.
He said traders will be helped by UNBS to get compensation from manufacturers.
"We are here to seek views on how best we can phase out these twisted iron bars. If we find you need more time, we shall give it to you. If it is to help you be compensated by the manufacturer, we shall help you," Okumu said.
For one to be compensated, the trader has to write to the UNBS executive director with evidence that the iron bars were bought before the administrative guidelines were issued in May.
Kabarole District Police Commander (DPC) Geoffrey Kahebwa said the ban is good for the country because it will improve the safety of buildings.
"The introduction of ribbed bars will help save people's lives and money.
Many buildings have collapsed killing people, but now that we have a solution, let us embrace it," Kahebwa said.
He said police is ready to implement the ban when called upon.
Traders want ban on twisted iron bars delayed