40% of the goods on the Ugandan market are fake


SENABULYA MASSO

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) has opposed government’s withdrawal of the Anti’Counterfeiting Goods Bill 2015 that had been tabled before Parliament.

The objective of the Bill is to prohibit the manufacture and trade in counterfeit goods that infringe upon protected intellectual property rights; to prohibit release of counterfeit goods in channels of commerce; to create offences relating to trade in counterfeit goods.

The PSFU executive director Gideon Badagawa told members of Parliament’s committee on Trade and Industry that the much desired genuine investors may not come to Uganda if counterfeit goods are still flooding Ugandan market.

Badagawa said that because of the absence of a law on counterfeits, nearly 40% of goods on the market are fake.

Badagawa also told the committee that their preliminary investigations show that Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has no capacity to test all the goods entering the country since its staffing level is low and inadequate.

In January, government withdrew Anti-counterfeiting Goods Bill from Parliament on ground that there are other laws that can address the gap.

The Bill was creating offences punitive and deterrent measures against the manufacture and trade in counterfeit goods.

Badagawa opposed arguments that the purpose of the counterfeit law is addressed by the copyrights law.

“No one should tell you that the law of copyright is going to fight the counterfeit ,it should have fought the  counterfeit long time ago why do we still have a problem?”Badagawa wondered .

“Where there is no regulation and there is a loophole, the private sector will take advantage and it’s the duty of government to apprehend the private sector using a law and which law came to enforce the standards available now,” Bagadawa said.

Jinja Municipality East MP Paul Mwiru questioned what the private sector is doing to take on government to have more analytical laboratories to minimise on fake goods flooding the market.

He observed the need for reviewing the operation of the UNBS and have partnership with private sector to invest in this work to help in stopping some of substandard goods flooding the market.

LANDLORD – TENANTS CONFLICT

Asked about the conflicts between arcade owners and their tenants over charging rental fees in foreign currencies, Bagadawa said the best alternative is for the two parties to enter into agreements on the mode of payment.

He cited the example of banks where they agree with their clients on a certain interest charge on any loan.

He welcomes the proposed Landlords – Tenants Bill which is currently before cabinet for approval before it is tabled before Parliament.