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Leaders raise concern about substandard goods in Elegu

Traders crossing from Elegu Township in Uganda to Nimule in South Sudan – Photo by Dominic Ochola

Elegu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Uganda National Bureau of Standards – UNBS has warned of the infiltration of unsafe and sub-standard goods being smuggled into the country through the porous borders in Elegu Town Council, Amuru District.

Fredrick Joseph Otim, the Bureau’s Inspector says several substandard goods are being sneaked out of the country into South Sudan and the same goods find their ways back into the country through the porous border points.

Otim explained that the Bureau aims at promoting fair trade and contribute to national development. He further noted un-certified goods that include packed food, cosmetics, soap, powder milk, sugar and wheat among others are not good for human consumption.

Ivan Kakaire, the Regional Manager of Uganda Revenue Authority – URA disclosed that the Authority seizes up to 30 smuggled goods such as rice, fuel, sugar and cosmetics among others on average every month. 

Last month, a conference of both Uganda and South Sudan cross border traders including government agencies and security officials discussed harassment and extortion of money from the traders by personnel who man gazetted entry points.

Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner who doubles as the District Security Chairperson says security personnel have been battling smugglers across 17 different porous border points between Uganda and neighbouring South Sudan.

Dozens of illicit traders including security personnel have also been arrested have been arrested and charged for transacting in contrabands. Over 15,000 people live at the border with hundreds struggling to make ends meet for their families.

Elegu Township sprung up in early 2012 after South Sudan’s breakaway from Sudan 2011. It is one of Uganda’s five high volume border entry points after Mutukula (Uganda – Tanzania), Malaba and Busia (Uganda-Kenya) and Mirama Hills at Uganda’s boundary with neighbouring Rwanda. 

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