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The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives will introduce a Consumer Protection Bill in Parliament to protect Ugandans from substandard products in the market.

The opening was made by the Minister of State for Commerce, Hon. David Bahati during the plenary session on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.

He said this while responding to a question of national importance raised by Hon. Jackson Atima (NRM, Arua Central) on the deaths of people in West Nile due to suspected alcohol poisoning.

Bahati noted that the ministry is strengthening enforcement and vigilance against substandard products, especially at the parish and village levels, to protect consumers.

Raising the issue, Hon. Atima noted that 14 people died in West Nile due to alcohol poisoning, with six in Arua town, three in Arua district and five in Madi-Okola district.

He added that several others were admitted to Arua Regional Hospital after consuming what was believed to be poisonous local alcohol, which was said to be certified but not officially recognized by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).

“UNBS offices in Northern Uganda are only in Gulu and Lira [districts] which are far from the West Nile. The government should establish a regional office in West Nile so that we can protect the lives of our consumers,” Atima said.

Bahati told the House of Representatives that after the incident was reported, the Ministry of Commerce sent a team of UNBS officials to assess the situation and take samples to analyze the content of the liquid consumed by the victims.

“The production point of this particular liquor has been closed and we are working with the police in Arua to investigate further and make more arrests should we find those responsible,” he added.

The minister also said the government is rolling out regional laboratories under UNBS, one of which has already been established in Gulu, while others are expected within four years in other regions including Arua.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa expressed concern over the false advertisements published on various media channels and called on the minister to take action on them.

“Some of these products are highly advertised and some of them are misleading our people. Can you negotiate with the UCC so that the media stops airing this false advertisement,” Taebwa said.

Bahati has committed to work with the Uganda Communications Commission to weigh the publicity of false advertising of certain products in the Ugandan market.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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