Key stakeholders have committed to fight illicit goods in Uganda. Uganda Breweries Limited, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), British American Tobacco (BAT), Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) and the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) of Police among others on Wednesday assured the public that they are determined to fight against the vice.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop held at Hotel Africana on Wednesday, Unilever Managing Director, Joanita Mukasa, said illicit trade is a vice that needs joint effort in its fight since it costs government money on top of killing innovation and market for genuine products. “Counterfeits are morally wrong. If we can let counterfeits cost an image we have built over the years, then it is not okay. Counterfeits cost lives. What happens to your life if you consume counterfeits? It is counterproductive and costs time,” Mukasa noted.
Billy Tsuma, who represented the Chief Executive Officer at BAT Uganda, said cigarettes are the most taxed products in Uganda. According to Tsuma, UGX50 of every UGX100 goes to URA in taxes.
He noted that 24% of cigarettes consumed in Uganda are illicit with 1% being those manufactured locally. Last year alone, Tsuama revealed that BAT lost UGX38 billion to counterfeits, which money he says URA should be collecting.
He, however, said that awareness is critical. “It is why we are here as BAT. Cigarettes are fast moving consumer products. We need counterfeiters fined heavily,” Tsuma said.
KACITA Uganda Chief Executive Officer Abel Mwesigye said illicit products are all over the market and readily available more than the genuine products.
However, he warned dealers in this trade that it is expensive and unsustainable.
“We have seen how illicit trade affects us. We have no compromise on illicit trade. If someone can counterfeit your product, then they have killed your market. Illicit trade doesn’t sustain you or your business because it is not sustainable,” Mwesigye said.
Mwesigye noted that there is a need for more sensitization about the dangers of illicit goods.
“The people consuming these products have no option. These illicit products are readily available and are everywhere compared to genuine products. We need massive sensitization because we (KACITA) interact with these people,” he said.
Julius Nkwasire Mpomoka, the URA Assistant Commissioner Enforcement said that the Authority is investing time in the 3 Es – Educate, Engage and Enforce.According to Nkwasire, URA has a strategy to protect brands and make illicit trade very expensive.For instance, on Friday 18 th March, Nkwasire said […]