Kampala. Substandard and counterfeit imports have reduced by 30 per cent over the last two years, the minister of Trade has disclosed.
According to Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the reduction is as a result of the enforcement of a government policy subjecting sensitive imports to quality test before being shipped here.
Speaking last week at the 6th annual ministry of Trade Sector Review Conference, Ms Kyambadde said the reduction that the sector has seen since 2013, also tells a story of what a stronger resolve can yield.
She said: “The Pre-shipment Verification of Conformity (PVoC) programme entered its second year of operation with up to 76,618 consignments inspected in the country of origin. This has reduced substandard imported products by about 30 per cent.”
As a policy, the programme requires sensitive items such as food and food products, electrical and electronics (including solar equipment), automotive products and inputs, be checked and cleared for quality before being imported here.
Others that are also subjected to quality test before coming into the country are chemical products, including cosmetics, mechanical materials and gas appliances. Toys and mosquito nets are also scrutinised for quality before being imported into the country.
Worth noting is that before the implementation of the PVoC initiative, Ms Kyambadde’s resolve was tested when traders, under their umbrella body Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita), decided to close their shops in protest of the initiative.
Meanwhile, the private sector leadership is of the view that more attention needs to be paid to locally manufactured counterfeit and substandard goods flooding the market.
In the sector review meeting, the executive director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Mr Ben Manyindo, said by close of the year, substandard and counterfeit imports would have reduced by 50 per cent. And by end of 2016 it would have gone down by 65 per cent.