On 14th November, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) with support from the Uganda Police Force, carried out a market surveillance operation at the Energy Centre on Market Street.
UNBS says the objectives of the operation were;
- To identify specific businesses involved in the sale and distribution of substandard electrical products.
- To obtain evidence of importation and distribution of the substandard electrical products.
- To seize any substandard electrical products found in the business outlets.
- To identify suspected persons involved in the sale and distribution of substandard electrical products for prosecution in accordance with the UNBS Act.
The operation focused on the Energy Centre on Market Street because it had been identified as the main source of substandard electrical products on the market.
“Such operations will continue to other outlets around the country covering various products. During the operation, forty-six (46) shops selling electrical items were inspected and about 4 tonnes of substandard electrical products were seized from various shops and taken to UNBS warehouse to aid with further investigations,” Godwin Bonge Muhwezi, Head of Public Relations, Uganda National Bureau of Standards said in a statement.
He added: “The business owners were summoned to UNBS CID Office for further investigations and possible prosecution. This market surveillance activity was informed by test reports of samples picked between July and September, 2018 that were submitted to UNBS laboratory for testing. From the test reports, it was established that about 80 per cent of the samples tested did not meet standards.”
He added that the market surveillance activity was carried out in accordance with the Section 3 (e) and (f) of the UNBS Act which gives UNBS the mandate to “…enforce standards in the protection of the public against harmful ingredients, dangerous components, shoddy material and poor performance…” and Section 21 (i) which prohibits the sell and distribution of substandard products.
A recent study commissioned by UNBS established that the prevalence of substandard products among the sampled items stood at 54% down from 73% reported in 2013.
UNBS uses the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) programme in line with the Imports Inspection and Clearance Regulation 2018 to prevent substandard products.
As per the regulation, all imported products covered by compulsory standards must be inspected for compliance to Ugandan standards before they are imported.
“The Government of Uganda through UNBS contracted service providers to carry out inspection of products from various countries before they imported. All products that comply with standards are issued with Certificates of Conformity which is the basis for clearance at points of entry,” UNBS says.
It adds: “Products that do not meet standards are denied entry. As a result of this intervention, UNBS was able to stop about 32 million of dangerous substandard products from being imported into the country. Such products would have had adverse effects on health and safety of consumers and the environment. We have noted that substandard products are brought into the country by unscrupulous importers who often use many tricks to circumvent regulatory requirements.”