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They Are Committing A Very Big Crime: UNBS Boss Manyindo Warns Dealers Smuggling Kenyan Made Kay Salt Into Ugandan Market…

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Uganda National Bureau of standards (UNBS), the Government’s regulatory Agency responsible for enforcing quality, standardization and assurance and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) have finally come out to clarify on Kenyan salt brand with ‘FOR SALE IN KENYA ONLY’ that is allegedly illegally smuggled onto the Ugandan market.

In an exclusive interview with the media on Thursday, UNBS’ Executive Director Dr. Ben Manyindo rubbished the claims that his border staff are involved, and instead blamed it on COVOD-19 SoPs put in place by Gov’t to control the spread of COVID19.

“You see when the pandemic broke out, we were required to reduce on our staff wherever we have our presence. Our staff was reduced by 30% everywhere, including where you’re seated to interview me now (at their head offices in Bulindo off Namugongo road). Secondly, even the remaining staff had to reduce on physical contact with their clients, physical interactions were intentionally discouraged for the safety of our staff and the general public, yet trading amongst all the EAC member countries had to continue,” he said.

He added, “This means that we now had to mainly rely on digital platforms to clear goods (online clearance), but as you know every good thing has its own challenges. Online clearance speeds up the processes but sometimes traders use is as an opportunity to either miss declare or under declare goods for various reasons. Traders may intentionally declare that they are passing out sugar yet in actual sense they’re passing out illegal KAY SALT. It’s possible, because traders now know that there is little physical inspection of goods and people by border regulators. I hope you haven’t forgotten so fast that border points have been more susceptible to the pandemic than other places.”

Manyindo argued that alleging that his staff members are involved in this illegal trade is a blanket accusation; the only possibility could be that smugglers are using the absence of their staff and those of URA due to COVID-19 to trade in this illegal salt.

“When the gate man is at a burial ceremony of his close relative and thieves take advantage of his absence to enter and steal, you can’t say the gate man connived with the thieves. No, instead the thieves took advantage of his absence. This should instead inform you of the importance of that gate man! This is the case with our staff, we had to scale down because of COVID-19, but now this gives us a challenge to start thinking of how we can re-enforce our staff, and our colleagues from URA, because we work together,” he added.

Manyindo also revealed that the said salt would be subjected to UNBS’ laboratory test to ascertain its quality and whether it’s good for consumption.

“Our primary mandate as UNBS is quality assurance. Normally, under our EAC protocols, all member countries recognize the quality marks of the other members, so we recognize the quality mark of Kenya this salt bears, but since it’s being smuggled, we can’t be sure, suppose it’s a counterfeit product? So we’re taking it to our lab, and on Monday we shall have the preliminary results and will share with you. If it passes the quality, then I will be 50% okay, because then I know that our public is safe in terms of quality, but now the other 50% will be for the dealers to tell us how it enters the country without authorization, and this is also a very big crime, because those culpable can face very dire consequences, including impounding their goods, facing courts of law and facing very very high penalties as a deterrent,” Manyindo explained.

Manyindo explained that cases of smuggling of goods including salt and other products at the borders increased between March and August due to the scaling down of both UNBS and URA staff due to COVID-19 SoPs and other guidelines.

“Our intelligence on ground points to the fact that these illegal trades increased during this COVID19 lockdown period because of the restrictions put in place to secure lives. But we’re going to re-enforce, by end of next month, the story will be different, I will invite you to come and witness,” he said.

Meanwhile URA’s customs manager in-charge Eastern Region James Malinzi said it’s the Kenyan authority that is supposed to stop its citizens from crossing with salt that’s meant for their market.

“As far as URA is concerned, not just salt, but no product can be cleared by URA at the customs without UNBS’ approval, so I don’t understand your claims,” he said.

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God Will Ask You How A Good Musician Went Bankrupt – Museveni Launches National Intellectual Property Policy, Inventors To Be Fully Protected By The Law…

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President Yoweri Museveni has today presided over the launch of the National Intellectual Property Policy at State House.

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual Property rights grant the owner of the work exclusive rights to exploit and benefit from his/her creations.

The National Intellectual Property Policy will therefore give Ugandans full protection from the law and enable them to earn from their toil and sweat.

The IP plan is a visionary tool looking forward to a Uganda where innovation and creativity can efficiently stimulate sustainable development.

The strategy is aimed at creating a robust IP value chain that fosters innovation and creativity as pillars of sustainable development in the country.

At the launch, President Museveni commended that it is crucial that individuals are rewarded for their innovations. He however cited that IP rights cannot be talked about without addressing the issue of funding for scientist who are behind most of the innovations.

On the same occasion, Museveni also noted that the National IP Policy doesn’t only cover the work of scientists, but also protects the creative work of artists like songs, paintings, among other artistic works.

“It is also a calling from God because God will ask you how a good musician went bankrupt,” he humorously commented.

“It is not good to betray the people you serve. When you serve, you should make sure there are no stones left unturned,” he added.

“For many years, African literature was oral. We now have an opportunity to preserve our rich African literature through copyright. It is important that the government creates an environment where creativity and innovation can thrive,” Museveni said.

President Museveni said that the NRM is committed to supporting innovations aimed at increasing the profitability of Ugandans engaged in different enterprises because one of the leading factors contributing to effective policy implementation is the political commitment and will from the highest level of government.

 

By Baron Kironde

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Gov’t Applauds Patidar Samaj Community For Supporting COVID19 Fight…

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Seremba inspecting the facility

The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health has applauded the Patidar Samaj Community for their effort in the fight against the deadly COVID19 Pandemic.

Geoffrey Seremba the undersecretary in the Ministry of Health thanked Patidar Samaj Community for giving government their property as a quarantine center to accommodate hundreds of Ugandans who returned from abroad.

Seremba with members of Patidar Samaj Comunity

Dr. Richard Mugabi, the National Coordinator COVID19 explained that the experts have assessed the premises located on plot 11/13 Bombo road and found them fit to be a quarantine centre.

“The site has a capacity of 100 residents. We appreciate and accept this offer from the Patidar Samaj Community. The Ministry of Health has committed to avail the items to ensure the site is fully functional,” Muhahi noted.

He promised that the government is going to provide the site with bed sheets, blankets, fumigation, security and food for the quarantined returnees.

Some of the Patidar Samaj community leaders

On behalf of the Patidar Samaj Community, Patel Kamlesh the chairperson Board of trustees revealed that they have spent over Shs.50m on working on the facility to make it fit for the returnees and government is free to use it.

He added that the reason behind their move to give the said facility to government was after realizing that all the facilities put in place to accommodate COVID19 suspects and patients are full.

Patidar Samaj is under the Indian Association in Uganda.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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Government Inks Oil Pipeline Deal With Total…

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President Yoweri Museveni today presided over the signing of the Host Government Agreement (HGA) for the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project between the government and Total.

Museveni congratulated Total upon concluding this agreement which he said will now move Uganda closer to production of crude oil in Uganda.

“It has taken long but I want to assure Ugandans that this was deliberate. We have gone through every item,” Museveni said.

Statiscally, Uganda as a country has oil as a small fraction of its wealth. The big part is agriculture, industry, services and human resource. Museveni however said that Oil can be a good spark for transformation.

“It will bring money which we shall use to develop infrastructure, science and technology. This money will not be used for consumption. We shall use it to enhance our durable capacity,” Museveni said.

“I welcome our partners from France, led by the Total CEO and Chairman, Patrick Pouyanne. I will get in touch with His Excellency John Pombe Magufuli to follow up on Tanzania’s host agreement,” he added.

Museveni congratulated the Ugandan team, and commended them for being good negotiators.

Museveni confirmed that Uganda now has a good petroleum team in terms of science, economics, adding that they always help him because they know everything that’s happening across the world in the oil sector.

 

By Baron Kironde

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