Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) yesterday incinerated up to 5 metric tons of HP and Canon cartridges at Luweero industries limited (LIL) in Nakasongola district.
LIL is a subsidiary of the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) which was established in 1989 by an Act of the Parliament.
Alex Tumuhairwe, the head of operations at URSB says this consignment was seized following sting operations in the Kampala’s central business district.
“Most of them were seized along Industrial Area and much more were seized along Nasser Road and Nkrumah Road” Tumuhairwe explains.
He added that this exercise shall be periodically held and vowed not to leave any stone unturned.
“These which are here are just about 5 tones. But we have about 60 other tons which are yet to be destroyed”, Tumuhairwe adds.
He called for the enactment of stringent laws to make this illicit trade risky.
As of now, Tumuhairwe says the legal regime does not effectively punish culprits.
“For instance this one, the biggest punishment was to pay 7.5 million. We feel it is too small for a person dealing in these counterfeits. If the punishment is much bigger than what it is today it would be much better”
According to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) 2017/18 report, 413 metric tons of goods worth 3.5 billion were seized including electronics, food stuffs and agro inputs amongst many others.
The ongoing cleanup operation is now targeting 2,278 industries, supermarkets, wholesale shops and retail outlets all over the country.
Tumuhairwe also pointed out lack of product knowledge on the side of enforcement officers and scanty or no cooperation from brand owners as key impediments.
“Ideally what we lack is the product knowledge. How do you tell that this is a counterfeit or it is not?”
He however, is optimistic that with increased synergies amongst respective authorities such as Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) this will be history.
Government last year withdrew the anti-counterfeit bill amidst pressure from a section of civil society organizations and local traders.
Under section 11 (3 b) of this bill, anybody found manufacturing or producing substandard goods is supposed to pay a fine not less 20 times the value of the market price of genuine products or imprisonment not exceeding 15 years or both.