UGANDA – According to the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives will introduce the Consumer Protection Bill on the Floor of Parliament in a bid to protect Ugandans against substandard products on the market following an alcohol poisoning incident.
Uganda is currently considering the Consumer Protection Bill after 14 people died from alcohol poisoning in Uganda including six reported in Arua City, three in Arua District and five in Madi-Okollo District.
The proposed Consumer Protection Bill seeks to ensure the protection of consumers as well as prevent the distribution of substandard, falsified products in the country by initiating necessary legal framework and capacity.
The unicameral Parliament of Uganda disclosed that the proposed Consumer Protection Bill to reduce the harmful use of alcohol was made by State Minister for Trade Hon. David Bahati during a plenary sitting on 23rd August 2022.
Uganda’s Minister for Trade mentioned that the point of production of the particular liquor linked to the deaths reported in West Nile region has been closed, adding that the ministry is working closely with Uganda Police Force in Arua to carry out further investigations.
The point of production of this particular liquor has been closed and we are working with the Police in Arua to carry out further investigations and make more arrests in case we find the culprits.
State Minister David Bahati said the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives is increasing enforcement and vigilance on substandard products particularly at parish and village levels in a move aimed at protecting consumers.
He told the Ugandan Parliament that the trade ministry dispatched a team of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) officials who assessed the situation and picked samples to analyze the content of the liquid consumed by the victims following the alcohol poising incident report.
In addition, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa raised concerns about misleading adverts publicized on different media channels while urging the State Minister for Trade to take action on adverts involving false, misleading or deceptive information.
State Minister for Trade Hon. David Bahati committed to work with the Uganda Communications Commission to weigh on the publicity of misleading adverts of some products on the Ugandan market.
Uganda’s legislative body further revealed that the State Minister for Trade made the revelation while responding to a matter of national importance raised the Government Whip West Nile Region Hon. Jackson Atima relating to deaths of persons in West Nile due to suspected alcohol poisoning.
Hon. Jackson Atima stated that several people are admitted to Arua Regional Referral Hospital having consumed suspected poisonous local alcohol that was branded as certified but not officially recognized by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards.
He called upon the Government of Uganda to establish a regional office in West Nile so that the relevant authorities can protect the lives of consumers, observing that UNBS offices in Northern Uganda are only located in Gulu and Lira districts which are far from West Nile.
Furthermore, the Ugandan Government is rolling out regional laboratories under Uganda National Bureau of Standards with one already established in Gulu and facilities are expected to be inaugurated in other region within four years including Arua City.
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