Kampala. Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has seized more than 200 substandard mattresses estimated at about Shs200m.
The mattresses were seized from Down Town Kampala on Tuesday in a midmorning raid that covered 22 shops on Sekazinga House alone.
Ms Barbra Kamusiime, the UNBS public relations officers, told journalists the raid followed continuous complaints from manufacturers of genuine mattresses, who claim that some traders have been selling substandard mattress marked with their brands names.
“We have confiscated mattresses that do not conform to standards. This is not the end of the operation; we are still combing the market for the next one-week in the area of mattresses. We need to clean the market [of substandard mattress],” she told journalists during the raid.
The issue of fake mattresses, just like many other goods, has been a concern over the years with the most affected being Royal Foam.
Last year, the mattresses manufacturer published a series of notices warning customers not to fall prey to a fake manufacturer who was using their brand colours and name to dupe unsuspecting clients.
However, there have been claims of laxity on the part of UNBS, whose role is to control the quality of goods that come to the market.
“We are doing whatever is possible. Our team has been doing [overt and covert operations] to see that we clean the market. Sometimes we come to the market to do on spot checks of quality of certified manufacturers but to also weed out the fake products,” Ms Kamusiime said, adding that whereas there have been a number of concerns, “we are doing whatever is within our means to clean the market”.
No arrests were made during the raid but Ms Kamusiime said they would evaluate the confiscated goods to understand the extent of the damage before making any arrest.
“We know the shops from where we got the mattresses. We are going to test them in our laboratories and see how harmful theses mattresses are to the people. After that we shall arrest the culprits and we shall charge them in the Standards Court,” she said.
In the last 12 months, she said 30 cases have been prosecuted with 72 under investigation to date. Cosmetics and electrical appliances remain the biggest trouble areas.
Counterfeits and substandard goods remain a serious threat to the economy with a number of companies losing billions of shillings to fake products.
It is estimated that Uganda loses up to a tune of more than Shs1 trillion due to the sale of counterfeit and substandard, a according to a recent report published by the Standard Chartered Bank Group.
Extent of threat: It is estimated that Uganda loses up to a tune of more than Shs1 trillion due to the sale of counterfeit and substandard, a according to a recent report published by the Standard Chartered Bank Group.