UNBS with support from the Uganda Police Force, carried out a market surveillance operation at the Energy Centre on Market Street on 14th November.
The objectives of the operation were: To identify specific businesses involved in the sale and distribution of substandard electrical products, obtain evidence of importation and distribution of the substandard electrical products, seize any substandard electrical products found in the business outlets.
The operation was also to identify suspected persons involved in the sale and distribution of substandard electrical products for prosecution in accordance with the UNBS Act.
According to a press statement by the body, 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.” The statement reads in part.
The letter also indicates that business owners were summoned to UNBS CID Office for further investigations and possible prosecution.
The 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.
The market surveillance activity was carried out in accordance with 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:
“No person shall import, distribute, manufacture, sell or have in his or her possession or control for sale or distribution any commodity for which a compulsory standard specification has been declared…”
Effects of substandard electrical items Electrical items are widely used in homesteads and workplaces for various purposes and they are among those products that must fulfill compulsory standards due to their impact on health and safety of consumers.
Substandard electrical items on the market may expose the users to various risks which include but not limited to: Electrocution of the user or member of the household due to the exposed live parts, Explosion due to the poor composition of electrical components such as the casing and cables, Burning of building arising from substandard wires used and Loss of household income through purchase of less durable products.