Parliament moves to consult public on proposed counterfeit law

Parliament moves to consult public on proposed counterfeit law
The Anti-counterfeit goods is being taken to the public

Parliament has moved to consult the public on the Anti-Counterfeit Goods Bill, 2023, as legislators push for a common ground on a draft law that could have wider implications.

The decision for the three-month consultation of the electorate follows a motion by the mover of the Bill, Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality - Jeema) and Jonathan Ebwalu of Soroti City West.

The Bill aims to combat economic drain and protect legitimate businesses.

The public consultations are crucial in gathering views from various stakeholders to ensure that the legislative process is inclusive and it leads to an effective legislation to combat counterfeits.

The consultations shall be carried out for a period of three months beginning April and will take place at selected locations in the central, eastern, northern and western regions of Uganda.

Basalirwa applauded the House for swiftly passing a resolution to grant leave last year for the introduction of the Bill.

"Currently, we are facing an economic squeeze, but this squeeze is being compounded by counterfeits which are destroying all productive sectors of the economy and driving youth unemployment to unbearable levels," he said.

"We need the Anti-Counterfeit Goods Bill to address this negative trend with punitive sanctions against the culprits."

He urged the public to embrace the consultations without any reservations.

Ebwalu, however, decried the menace of counterfeits which continue to afflict Ugandans,

He declared the Anti-Counterfeit Goods Bill to be a non-partisan people's law which should unite and heal the wounds of the political divide.

Speaking at the same press launch, Fred Muwema, a long-standing activist against counterfeits and chairman of the Anti-Counterfeit Network, welcomed the Bill, saying it was a timely intervention against counterfeits which has been in the waiting for more than 10 years.

"Everyone in Uganda is a victim of counterfeits including the counterfeiters themselves because they also suffer the same effects of other counterfeit products which they do not manufacture," Muwema said.

He added that the devastating effects of counterfeits and substandard products to the public health and economy are too severe to ignore.

Muwema estimates that more than one-third of our national budget 2023/24 of Shs52.7 trillion is wasted.

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