KAMPALA- Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL), BAT, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), Unilever Uganda and the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) of Uganda Police among other stakeholders have assured the public that they are determined to fight against the illicit goods on the Ugandan market.
This was during a sensitization workshop held at Hotel Africana on the morning of Wednesday, March 16th.
Nkwasire Julius Mponooka, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Assistant Commissioner i/c Enforcement said that the Authority is investing time in the 3 Es – Educate, Engage and Enforce.
According to Nkwasire, URA has a strategy to protect brands and make illicit trade very expensive.
Data shows that the alcohol sector has over the years been faced with the challenge of illicit trade in the form of counterfeits, contraband, look-alikes, and non-DTS-compliant products, which have not only caused harm to the unsuspecting public but also led to a significant loss in government revenues through unpaid taxes.
Mr. Joseph Lubulwa, the UBL Brand Protection Manager revealed that the counterfeit goods take 64.5% of the market share, leaving the remaining percentage to the genuine dealers and it is against that background that UBL has partnered with organizations in the private sector to conduct nationwide sensitization engagements on illicit trade so as to sensitize the public and the relevant authorities on the adverse effects of illicit alcohol and how to spot the difference between licit and illicit.
He appealed to lawmakers and the authorities to enable timely prosecution and tougher penalties for offenders.
Unilever Managing Director, Joanita Menya Mukasa, said illicit trade is a vice that needs joint effort in its fight since it costs government money on top of killing innovation and market for genuine products.
“Counterfeits are morally wrong. If we can let counterfeits cost an image we have built over the years, then it is not okay. Counterfeits cost lives. What happens to your life if you consume counterfeits? It is counterproductive and costs time,” Mukasa noted.
The Uganda Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Spokesperson Charles Twiine assured stakeholders of fighting illicit trade.
“Our mandate is to secure lives, detect and deter. We are talking about illicit trade. Illicit trade is closely associated with terrorism. The moment we entertain illicit trade, you are playing on people’s innovation and health,” Twiine said, adding that they are committed to working with all stakeholders to fight illicit trade.
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