KAMPALA-Parliament’s Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry said last week it would draft a comprehensive law aimed at protecting consumers in the country from false advertisement, predatory pricing, and substandard products.
According to the Chairperson of the Committee, Mwine Mpaka, although there are several laws in the country that protect consumers, they are scattered to the extent that they cannot be relied on.
The Mbarara City South MP pointed out section 3 of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards Act, section 10 of the Contracts Act 2010, section 13 of the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act, section 5 of the National Drug Policy and Authority Act and section 1, 2 and 3 of Food and Drug Act among others.
He said the committee will through a private member introduce the bill which will help protect consumers from exploitation in the business sector. He said several drugs and alcohol are currently being sold to minors and this is what will be curbed.
Additionally, the proposal will protect consumers from bad lenders who disguise to be giving easy credit, but have exorbitant repayment rates and hidden fees.
“The Trade Committee has decided to finally move the long awaited consumer protection law. The bill will among other things safeguard the consumers from purchasing goods and services which are defective, deceptive or fraudulent,”Mpaka said.
According to Mpaka, the bill will protect consumers from false advertisements. “We have seen advertisements on televisions with fake claims and people end up buying these commodities. We have seen it in the Kombucha / soft drinks and so many out there,” he added.
Buhweju County Member of Parliament, Francis Mwijukye said that Ugandans have been cheated and sold substandard goods and services but there have been no remedies.
“You have consumed meat that has been contaminated; you develop challenges but where can you find redress? You find schools opening, and it is when taxis and buses are increasing fares,” Mwijukye said.
Agnes Kirabo, the Central Youth MP said that there are a lot of fake products in the market, especially because the cheaper and affordable options are the fake ones which are actually certified. She said the new law will go a long way to regulate substandard goods and protect consumers.
“It will save our country from struggling in the international market; whenever we keep exporting substandard products and non-value added products, we shall be outcompeted,” she said.
Gomba District Woman Representative, Sylvia Nayebale said that Uganda has been a dumping ground for fake products and this should change.
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