KAMPALA-Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has asked for immediate action by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to ban media advertisements of substandard products that have flooded the market.
Tayebwa, while presiding over this afternoon’s plenary sitting, noted with concern that, much as substandard products continue to pose a risk to the lives of Ugandans, manufacturers are always accessing the media to advertise.
“If it is illegal to have a non-certified product on the market, then how do you allow it to be advertised?” Tayebwa wondered.
The Deputy Speaker’s concern followed a matter of national importance raised by Arua Central legislator, Jackson Atima, who informed Parliament of the death of 14 people in West Nile after allegedly consuming a locally manufactured alcohol called City 5.
Atima informed Parliament that survivors of the alcoholic drink are being treated at Arua Regional Referral Hospital and other health facilities in the West Nile sub-region.
“This drink is uncertified and a lot of substandard goods are produced in this country. They are sent on the market. There are also uncertified goods that are imported into this country” said Atima.
The legislators from West Nile also laid on the floor of Parliament bottles of what is said to be the City 5 waragi in order for the House to appreciate the danger it poses to the community.
The Deputy Speaker directed the Clerk to record the details contained on the bottles before handing them over to the sergeant-at-arms who will link up with investigating agencies.
State Minister for Trade in charge of Industry, David Bahati informed Parliament that the factory which has been producing the liquor has been closed while the police have made arrests for the people behind the product.
“We dispatched a team of UNBS to assess the situation. We picked a sample of the waragi taken and in a few days we shall have the result of what was the substance of the liquid taken” said Bahati.
The Minister said that his Ministry is increasing enforcement of the law to ensure that only certified products with the label of UNBS are sold on the market as a way of eradicating counterfeits. He said that the Consumer Protection Bill is in offing because if enacted into law, it will help to protect the consumers from such substandard products.
The Deputy Speaker however, became hard on the Minister saying that it is time the substandard products are cleared off the market. He said that some products have been bought by men as a solution to their conjugal performance because of the convincing message packaged in adverts in the media.
“These products you are talking about have been advertised in the media. People are consuming them. They advertise every day, they are many. Can’t you work out an arrangement with UCC so that these misleading adverts can be stopped?” asked the Deputy Speaker.
The Minister informed Parliament that his Ministry is set to work with UCC and the Ministry of Information, ICT and National Guidance to ensure that the adverts for the substandard products are stopped.
Atima in his submission to Parliament called on the government to give UNBS enough enforcement support as it is to the Ministry of Health that has been fighting fake drugs on the market. He also called on the government to give financial support to the families that lost their dear ones after they drunk the City 5 waragi.