The NRM Vice chairperson in charge of Eastern Uganda Capt.Mike Mukula has said counterfeit products are still flooding the Ugandan market partly because there is lack of political will to fight them.
A report released recently by Uganda National Bureau of Standards for 2017 and 2018 indicated that more than 54 percent of goods on the Ugandan market are fake.
Addressing a news conference on Monday, Mukula, who is also the patron for Stop Counterfeit Products Africa, a private sector and civil society initiative to fight against counterfeit products said leaders focus more on politics than issues than affect the local population and have a great impact on them.
“Our leaders are more focused on things like People Power and Togikwatako other than development issues like fighting counterfeit products which cause cancer to the population,”Mukula said on Monday.
“In simple terms, our leaders and elites are more focused on the politics of politics other than politics of development.”
According to the NRM Vice Chairperson for Eastern Uganda, the country has become a supermarket for unwanted and fake products from the developed countries citing China and India but noted that there is no political will to help fight it.
He said unless the fight against counterfeit and cheap products is taken up to the doorsteps of those produce them, many people would continue getting affected.
“How can a country be that cheap to import second hand knickers? This is unacceptable. There has to be a standard on products we take in as a country.”
Mukula said there should be a strict legal framework to address the issue of counterfeits.
Stop Counterfeit Products Africa Managing Director, Allan Mulindwa said unless counterfeits are fought and eliminated, they are becoming a new form of terrorism because it is an ideology that undermines state sovereignty of citizens and national security.
“These counterfeit goods flood the market due to loopholes in the enforcement of the available laws. There is need to bring all parties including government agencies together to help fight counterfeits,”Mulindwa said.
Kampala City Traders’ Association’s Issa Ssekitto admitted that members of KACITA have been pointed at for being involved in importation of counterfeit products but noted that blame should be put on government for failure to enforce the law.
“Where there are five Uganda Revenue Authority points on the border, there is only one for UNBS yet the latter is supposed to check standards of goods before entering the country,”Ssekitto said.
Ssekitto also noted that it is very unfortunate that importers pay taxes for their imports before being verified for standards.
“It is unfortunate that people pay taxes before goods are checked for their standards. It becomes a challenge to destroy or send back the goods after paying taxes.”
He however noted that more counterfeit products are produced locally than those imported, urging authorities to crack the whip on local industries dealing in counterfeits.
The Stop Counterfeit Products Africa has organised a conference on counterfeits to bring together government agencies, businessmen and the public to discuss counterfeits.