Key stakeholders have dedicated to struggle illicit items 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 amongst others on Wednesday assured the general public that they’re decided to struggle towards the vice.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop held at Hotel Africana on Wednesday, Unilever Managing Director, Joanita Mukasa, mentioned illicit commerce is a vice that wants joint effort in its struggle because it prices authorities cash on prime of killing innovation and marketplace for real merchandise.
“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 famous.
Billy Tsuma, who represented the Chief Executive Officer at BAT Uganda, mentioned cigarettes are probably the most taxed merchandise in Uganda. According to Tsuma, UGX50 of each UGX100 goes to URA in taxes.
He famous that 24% of cigarettes consumed in Uganda are illicit with 1% being these manufactured regionally. Last yr alone, Tsuama revealed that BAT misplaced UGX38 billion to counterfeits, which cash he says URA must be amassing.
He, nevertheless, mentioned that consciousness is vital. “It is why we are here as BAT. Cigarettes are fast moving consumer products. We need counterfeiters fined heavily,” Tsuma mentioned.
KACITA Uganda Chief Executive Officer Abel Mwesigye mentioned illicit merchandise are everywhere in the market and available greater than the real merchandise.
However, he warned sellers on this commerce that it’s costly 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 mentioned.
Mwesigye famous that there’s a want for extra sensitization in regards to the risks of illicit items.
“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 mentioned.
Julius Nkwasire Mpomoka, the URA Assistant Commissioner Enforcement mentioned that the Authority is investing time within the 3 Es – Educate, Engage and Enforce.
According to Nkwasire, URA has a method to guard manufacturers and make illicit commerce very costly.
For occasion, on Friday 18th March, Nkwasire mentioned the Authority will destroy cigarettes value UGX1.2 billion.
“We are sending a message to protect our own genuine products. We shall destroy them so that people do the right thing. We shall continue to educate, engage and enforce,” Nkwasire famous.
According to UBL in 2021, they seized illicit alcohol value UGX375 million and between 2019 and 2020 authorities misplaced UGX1.9 trillion in income from gross sales of illicit merchandise within the alcohol sector.
Data exhibits that alcohol sector has over time been confronted with the problem of illicit commerce within the type of counterfeits, contraband, look-alikes, and non-DTS-compliant merchandise, which haven’t solely brought on hurt to the unsuspecting public but additionally led to a major loss in authorities revenues by way of unpaid taxes.
Joseph Lubulwa, UBL Brand Protection Manager mentioned that counterfeiters take 64.5% of the market share, leaving the remaining share to the real sellers.
He nevertheless appealed for well timed prosecution and harder penalties for offenders.
CID Spokesperson Charles Twiine assured stakeholders of preventing illicit commerce as he mentioned:
“Our mandate is to secure lives, detect and deter. We are talking about illicit trade. Illicit trade is closely associated with terrorism. The moment we entertain illicit trade, you are playing on people’s innovation and health,” Twiine mentioned, including that: “We are dedicated to working with everyone right here to struggle illicit commerce. We sit up for working with you.