ARUA- West Nile leaders and small scale industrialists have cried to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to open an office in the sub-region to protect them against fake products from across the border, which enter their markets unchecked.
UNBS’ nearest office is in Lira District, which does inspection and enforcement of standards in the whole of the northern region but has only one staff.
Arua District vice chairperson, Ms Sunday Ayikoru, said the thin presence of the standards body in the region is undermining the health and lives of residents who consume fake or sub-standard products.
In a meeting on Thursday, small and medium enterprise traders complained that the long distance to Lira and Kampala where the UNBS offices are located, makes the certification of their businesses very difficult.
Some of the bakeries in Arua have been under the spotlight for producing sub-standard bread. In July 2009, three bakeries in Arua were closed by UNBS market surveillance inspection team due to failure to meet minimum operational standards.
Ms Winnie Atugonza of UNBS said out of about 50 small scale processing factories in West Nile, only two were certified.
Mr Peter Jurua, a meat processor in Arua called for punitive action on those who compromise standards.