If Uganda does not re-adopt the regional pre-inspection programme, there is a high likelihood of continued inflow of substandard products on the Market. Uganda and Burundi are the only East African states that have not adopted the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity to standards (PVoC) programme. Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania have already taken on the programme and as a result, they are already seeing less inflow of counterfeits and substandard goods and thus making great profits on both the regional and local market.
The PVoC is a programme that has the quality of goods assessed from the countries of origin prior to export. Its derived from the WTO Agreement on TBT and has been adapted by the EAC members to ensure the conformity of all imported products to the relevant regional and international standards. It is mandatory for all goods imported into the country to comply with the requirements of the relevant standard. Importers are required to have a certificate of conformity as a way of confirming their quality.
In November 2010, the government of Uganda suspended the PVoC Program for a comprehensive review following concerns raised by the business community through the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) Speaking at the East African Standards Committee (EASC) meeting in Kampala in April 2012, it was agreed that these countries which have not taken on the PVoC keep the region backward in as far as encouraging substandard products inflow on the market. The Acting Director Uganda National Bureau of Standards Dr. Ben Manyindo said there was need to appreciate PVoC and have it re-estated on the market. "This was halted by government but we hope it is renewed to curb the growing number of counterfeit and fake goods on the market, other countries have harmonized their import regimes unlike Uganda and Burundi," he revealed to Daily Monitor.
The region has for the last two years been trying to attain uniformity of standards governing the regional market which they said can be achieved if there are uniform measures used at all entry points to curbthe entry of fake products from within and outside the region. The Director General Rwanda Bureau of standards Dr. Mark Bagabe said there is going to be introduction of a single inspection regime after PVoC has been fully taken on by all countries and with this; "We shall be able to fast track fake goods entering the market to save genuine business men from making losses." Dr .Bagabe said most counterfeit products are not from within the region but from countries like China and India.
So with a tight inspection body at the borders, there is hope for less entry of such commodities in to the region. So far, the EASC has harmonized over 1500 standards and they are yet tohave more 100 harmonized before the second quarter of the year. The acting chairman EASC Joel Kioko said they have chosen to deal with small groups of goods and services at a go, to ensure that they have as many uniform standards as possible that govern the market.