The Uganda Police director in charge of Interpol and international relations Fred Yiga has said they have intensified operations to crackdown on counterfeit goods in the country.
Speaking to journalists at the Interpol headquarters in Kololo on Friday, Yiga said counterfeits have a big impact on the economy and lives of Ugandans.
“Some of these items are used by our relatives and ourselves but are not worth being on the market. We should not allow such goods cross to our neighboring countries, neither should they cross to Uganda from overseas,”Yiga said.
He said through operation ‘Fagiya’ a Kiswahili word to mean ‘clean’ they have commenced with a crackdown on the counterfeit goods in many parts of the city and the country at large.
He said they would be working with Internal Security Organization (ISO), Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the Anti -Counterfeit Network to help with the operation.
Among the counterfeit items recovered during the operation and displayed to the media included lubricants, toothpaste, electrical appliances and mattresses among others.
Fred Muwema, the Director Legal and Corporate Affairs at Anti-counterfeit Network said there are many loopholes that need to be closed if counterfeits are to be fought from Uganda.
“There is not enough facilitation to the regulators and enforcement officers who would help intercept the counterfeits before they enter the country. Of the over 70 entry points to Uganda, only 20 or 30 percent are manned,”Muwema said.
He noted that there isn’t enough man power at border posts adding that the present laws are not enforced to the latter to deter culprits dealing in counterfeits.
According to Muwema, many brand owners fear to come out to report of counterfeits in their products making it easy for them to thrive.
“They(brand owners) have a duty to protect the consumers from fake products. There should be awareness to members of the public about the presence of counterfeits on the market and how to detect them,”Muwema noted.
He added that even custom officers need to be sensitized not to allow counterfeits in the country other than simply collecting taxes from such goods.