Surveillance is an activity under Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) focusing on eliminating substandard products from the market and ensuring that product traded on Ugandan Market meet requirements of relevant compulsory standards. To achieve this and appreciating that there are limited resources, a segmentation approach was adopted starting in July 2016. This was intended to identify sectors and cause an impact on the market sector by sector. This has helped to avoid spreading resources wide and focus on a specific sector to achieve tangible results. Indeed this has yielded results for 6 months now (half-year progress). This brief, therefore, covers what has been achieved for the first 6 months of 2016/17.
For the first three (3) months (1st Quarter), the surveillance prioritised steel products and cosmetics products. This was in response to increasing complaints about the presence of substandard reinforcement bars on the market. On the other hand, the presence of cosmetics with prohibited substances on the market was reported to be on the increased. In the 2nd Quarter, the scope was increased to include; electrical and electronic products, and agricultural inputs (agrochemical and agro implements). Other cases were responded to on a case by case basis.
1 seizure of 353 roofing sheets from Arua Park;
15 seizures of steel bars from areas of Kampala, Masaka, and Wakiso Districts;
Over 500 metric tonnes of steel bars were seized.
36 seizures of cosmetics products with prohibited substances;
Over 1.6 metric tonnes of cosmetics were seized.
12 seizures involving food, juice and water products
2 seizures of paints
2 seizures of electrical cables
Three (3) cases were successfully prosecuted; the culprits were convicted and fined. These include; Ms Busingye Joy of Railways Good Shed who was prosecuted for adulteration of cement at Railways Good Shed. On conviction, Ms Joy Busingyewas fined UGX 10,000,000.
Mr Lubwama of Railways Good Shed who was prosecuted for selling underweight cement at Railways Good Shed. On conviction, Mr Lubwama was cautioned and fined UGX 20,000.
The Director of East African Yohanda Food Company Ltd of Kyebando who was prosecuted for use of the Quality Mark on flavoured imitation juice without the permit. On conviction, the Director was fined UGX 10,000,000.
The hearings of other cases are in court and on-going, while other are still under investigation. The public will be informed of the outcome of the court at an appropriate time.
Plans for the next 6 months
In the next 6 months, UNBS looks forward to consolidating the achievements in the areas of steels products and cosmetics. This will involve establishing a quick response force to handle any reported cases non-conformities. UNBS also looks forward to working closely with customs (URA) to ensure that all imported steel products and cosmetics conform to requirements.
On the other hand, UNBS is planning for major operations in the areas of electrical and electronic products, agrochemicals and agro implements basing on sampling and analysis that are on-going.