Consumer Rights Bill has been shelved since 2016 - lobbyists

Mr Salim Bari the CEO and Editor In Chief Consumer Choice Awards and Consumer Guide Magazine during the meeting

What you need to know:

  • The [Consumer Rights] Bill has been in Parliament since 2016.

Government and Parliament have not shown interest in debating and enacting the Consumer Rights Bill, which was first tabled in Parliament in 2016, consumer rights lobbyists have said. 

Speaking at the launch of Consumer Choice Awards due on August 19, Mr Julius Sekyewa the Skyren Consults chief executive officer, said the Bill, which would shield consumers and traders from exploitative trade practices, continues to gather dust thus exposing a large number of Ugandan to health and financial challenges. 

“Most bills are rushed [because] they are politically driven. Consumers do not know where to run to once they are not satisfied with the goods or services offered to them because there are no definite laws to deal with such as problem. The [Consumer Rights] Bill has been in Parliament since 2016. We need to know why,” he said, wondering how such a Bill, which impacts almost all Ugandans has remained on the shelves of Parliament for this long.  

Consumers, he said, are partly shielded from poor goods and services through regulatory oversight from agencies such as Uganda National Bureau of Standards and Uganda Communications Commission, which do not provide enough legroom for consumers to deal with substandard goods and services. 

Director of Interpol Fred Yiga showing some of the fake mattresses and other fake products. This was during the display of counterfeit products that were recently confiscated from different centres in Kampala. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Over the years, according to Uganda National Bureau of Standards, there has been an increase in the proliferation of substandard goods, which in 2019, UNBS indicated, had reached about 54 percent. 

During the same meeting, Mr Salim Bari, the Consumer Guide Magazine editor-in-chief, said lobbyists and other stakeholders have been lobbying Parliament to expedites the Bill, which once enacted, will provide an avenue through which consumer complaints and rights are addressed and how culprits, who promote substandard goods and services, can be dealt with. 

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