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UNBS to penalize agents

UNBS To Penalize Clearing Agents

In a move to phase out entry of counterfeit products in the market, Uganda national bureau of standards (UNBS) the body has vowed to penalize clearing agents not complying to the new pre-export verification of conformity guidelines.

The standards body recently introduced new pvoc guidelines to be followed by all clearing and business traders importing goods into the country.

UNBS Manager for standards inspection Andrew Othieno warned that unless clearing agents adhere to the new rules they will be registered to operate any business transaction since they play vital role in the economy.

“We are very serious about clearing agents complying to the new PVOC guidelines to eliminate counterfeits in the market. Therefore we shall certify only clearing agents transacting quality goods in the market,”Othieno said.

He said this new guideline has been adopted in order to protect consumers from substandard goods and to ensure safety and quality of approved products enter the market.

According to Othieno, PVOC programme requires that regulated imports are verified for compliance in the country by UNBS and officials provide certification for easy market access.

He however says effective April the standards body will roll out online pvoc anew platform that will enable clearing agents timely verification for clearance.

Alhajji Jaffer chairman Uganda clearing industry and forwarding association however accused unbs officials and pvoc service providers namely SGS,TUV and Intertake of being bureaucratic and slow in certification process.

“We need to harmonize  the way we do business especially pvoc service providers in the process of entering data and information while handling verification and certification process,”

According to Jaffer Uganda clearing and industry forwarders association comprise of 400 members who contribute directly to the entry of goods into the country.

Statistics from Uganda revenue authority says the business community is losing hundreds of millions of shillings annually in the importation of fake goods. Most of the fake imported goods are impounded by Uganda Revenue Authority-UNRA and Uganda National Bureau-UNBS of Standards and destroyed over noncompliance with the local standards.  It is not clear how much of the fake goods are impounded and destroyed but both URA and UNBS says the amount is quiet large.

This is blamed on the failure by the business community to consult with UNBS and URA before they order such goods. Lawrence Michael Oketcho, the manager of policy and advocacy says both UMA and URA have tried to make work simple by availing the necessary information about importing goods from other countries.

He however, says that on most occasions the business community does not consult to get clear information on taxation and quality of goods for importation.
UMA says both URA and UMA are open to help the business community but many traders deliberately ignore them. He says as result, millions of shillings are lost in dubious business deals.

James Odong assistant commissioner for domestic taxes wonders why traders continue to lose millions of shillings when URA by law is available to offer them free business information. He says under both national laws and international protocols, traders are entitled to both formal and informal access to information from URA without any cost attached.

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