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Consumers, traders question UNBS on substandard goods in Elegu

Elegu border post

Elegu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Consumers and traders operating at Elegu Border Point in Amuru district have asked the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to step up market surveillance and crackdown on substandard commodities.

They pointed out that the area is witnessing a surge in goods and commodities which do not conform to minimum standards. This includes beverages, alcoholic and energy drinks, many of which are packed in sachets and do not have the UNBS Quality Mark, as well as electronic gadgets like phones, solar panels, and batteries which present a safety hazard for users.

Elegu, a busy trading centre at the Uganda, South Sudan border has over time been a hotspot for smugglers and illicit trade. But, according to Nelson Ojok, the Youth Councilor of Elegu Town Council, a lot of substandard electronic gadgets have flooded the market and wonders how such goods are cleared to enter the market.

He wants the UNBS market surveillance and the pre-export verification teams to step up their efforts to track down the importation and distribution of substandard commodities into the market. He was speaking during a stakeholders consultative meeting on pre-export verification of conformity to standards and import inspection procedures held at Elegu One-Stop Border Point on Friday.

David Otto, a trader at Elegu market wants the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to enhance its surveillance and inspection in order to ensure that all commodities meet the minimum required standards for consumption.

Brenda Aromorach, the Project Assistant of the East African Sub Regional Support Initiative for Advancement of Women (EASSI) at the Elegu/Nimule Border urged UNBS to regulate and ensure maximum standards for locally manufactured goods to promote the country`s economy.

Similarly, Jaffari Ogwang, from White Range International, tasked the UNBS to ensure that locally manufactured products meet market standards and quality in order to protect the health and safety of consumers.

Adaku Ramadhan, the Chairperson of Uganda Clearing and Forwarding Association at Elegu appealed to UNBS to have routine engagement with traders and consumers to ensure maximum adherence to set standards and protection of last consumers from adulterated and substandard products.

However, Peter Abongu the UNBS Northern Regional Head of Market Surveillance maintains that they conduct routine product inspection and monitoring as well as market surveillance. He notes that they have over time impounded, sealed off, seized, or at worst destroyed, re-exported, and recalled products that do not meet the market standards.

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