By Chief Spy Reporter
The main challenges that drive counterfeit culture may include affordability, convenience, normalcy and differentiation among others. In Uganda, counterfeits dominate electronics sector. However, according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), elimination of counterfeits has to be multifaceted & gradual to avoid market shocks and negative impacts on applications. For instance, UCC says Mobile Money in telecoms giving access to financial services to a large unbanked section of the population.
Commission spokesman, Ibrahim BBosa says the discussion on counterfeit is a fantastic one.
“This is a fantastic dialogue especially for @UCC_Official who would like to facilitate the elimination of the sale and use of counterfeit mobile phones on the Ugandan market through collaboration with pertinent stakeholders,” Mr. Bbosa said.
He noted that the challenge of counterfeits is global, “with wide economic ramifications. However, is there any literature that looks at the possible positive economic impact of #Counterfeitelectronics, which has parallels in generic drugs?
Consumer education should point to the fear that counterfeits increase the risk of poor health. In phones, there is talk of exposure to unhealthy levels of radio-frequency radiation or from exploding phone parts. But do we have systematic data/research to give credence to the fears of users in this respect?”
Mr. Bbosa advised that there is need to have basic testing facilities or laboratories that he said would help test #CounterfeitelectronicsUG to ensure conformity to basic international safety standards.
“Gov’t agencies @UCC_Official, @URAuganda, @UNBSug, @nemaug & @URSBHQ are positioned to address challenges of counterfeits & the laws for enforcement are in place but requiring harmonization. Who is coordinating to effectively achieve this? It would be nice to know whether conformity assessment standards against which compliance can be measured or infraction prosecuted are in place. Otherwise, this could prove to remain a big challenge if there are no standards,” Mr Bbosa lectured in a twitter thread.
He noted that the high profits from importing counterfeits coupled with the lower risk of detection given weak enforcement nurture are a fertile ground for illegal activity. “How do we plan to improve surveillance, investigation, and enforcement?” he questioned, adding, “The price of counterfeits has been found to have a significant positive influence on the consumer attitude towards #CounterfeitelectronicsUG & purchase intentions. Many buyers of counterfeits actually know a product is counterfeit.”
To this, Mr. Bbosa recommends regular surveillance and hamoization of legal framework.
“Proliferation of #CounterfeitelectronicsUG indicates that some local distributors work with manufacturers & might be responsible for large infusions of counterfeits. Regular surveillance & deterrent penalties are necessary for curbing the vice,” he said adding that, “Harmonise the legal & regulatory framework within which enforcement of anti-counterfeiting efforts can be pursued. Take into account what is being done at the East African Parliamentary level -EAC Anti-Counterfeit law.”