Consumers will soon be able to electronically verify whether the products they are about to buy are genuine, of good and standardised quality or not.This follows a move by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to roll out a phone powered traceability and e-verification service called e-tag to combat the prevalence of counterfeit products on the Ugandan market.
Using this product, customers will be able to detect forgeries of labels by sending the digits of the labels to code 141. The code will be redirected to the centralised computer system where it will be verified.This follows the successful pilot launch where the body partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture to kick-start the e-verification of goods in the agriculture sector.
Dr Ben Manyindo, the executive director UNBS, said the e-tag will create a robust channel for not only quality verification and auditing, but also verifying the source of commodities plus their conformance with the acceptable quality standards under the Ugandan law. “We have a challenge in the market and we have been with this challenge for a longtime,” he said at Uganda Manufacturers’ Association in Kampala last week. He added: “There has been a challenge of substandard and counterfeit goods in the market for so long,” he said.
However, manufacturers have expressed worry that the additional charge for the e-tag will lead to an increase in the cost of the product.“We shall have to transfer the costs to the end product,” said Regina Nakayenga, a wine manufacturer.
But Dr Manyindo said the extra cost will be only one per cent of the unit cost of the products. He also said the new software will benefit manufacturers, distributors and consumers of fast moving consumer goods and other commodities to access critical information about the individual commodities at the point of purchase.
He revealed that 1.1 million tags have been sold especially to the agriculture sector alone. The system is being replicated in other sectors as well.
The e-verification service aims to empower all Ugandan commodity consumers and generate more than Shs1 billion in aggregated value per year thus supporting the Ugandan government in partnership with the manufacturing industry.