Authorities mount Crackdown on smuggled Uganda goods

Monday November 08 2021
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Cargo trucks bound for Rwanda at the Uganda-Rwanda One Stop Border Post of Mirama Hills. Katuna border post was closed three years ago and all cargo directed to use Mirama Hills, Kagitumba One Stop Border Post. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


Authorities have commenced crackdown on smuggled Ugandan goods. It has emerged that some traders are smuggling Ugandan goods after the government closed the border with Uganda three years ago.

However, traders say that high cost of alternatives to plastic packaging materials and capacity challenges are making it products manufactured in the country less competitive.

Close to three years since the closure of the Rwanda-Uganda borders, cutting off entry of Ugandan products into Rwandan market, local traders are now smuggling the productsto meet the demand.

This has prompted authorities to mount an operation to clamp down on traders who continue to sell products from Uganda, with heavy penalties imposed on their found with illegal products in their shelves.

Traders say customers have failed to warm up to some of the locally made goods that came to replace Ugandan pro ducts as well as other imported goods, saying they are still of poor quality.

" Customers usually prefer imported products for their good quality, they have completely rejected some of the locally manufactured goods, the good prices they are willing to pay for these imports some of which are Ugandan products that are not allowed anymore has tempted many of us to sell them," said Mukeshimana Davina (Not real names) a shop keeper in Niboye.


"Many of our locally made products are still of poor quality yet so expensive, " she adds. Another trader in Remera said although the temptation to Uganda Ugandan products is strong, he has settled on selling the few good quality Rwandan products and those coming from elsewhere so he is not arrested.

“I have scaled down to dealing in fewer locally made products which are of good quality, than risking being arrested” Some of the smuggled Ugandan products include Uganda Waragi, beauty products and other consumer goods.

Some of the local manufacturers have started making imitations of some Ugandan products, for instance after in order to tap into the large Rwandan client base for Movit beauty products, a local company started making a similar product and called it Movita.

The trick worked for a short time, because some Movit customers bought Movita but quickly realised the quality was poor and even had side effects, which made them to throw away the product and stop buying it.