READING the book of 1st Timothy 6:10 one realises that love of money is the root cause of every evil that is why many businesspeople will never hesitate to sell substandard and expired goods to the public, so long as his/her bank account or pocket swells.
These people are murders from the word go because to sell a substandard good including foodstuffs like sugar contaminating with mercury as in the Kenyan case, where recently the government Chemist report, showed that part of the recently seized consignment of sugar contains mercury and copper, is murder of high degree.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said analysis of the sugar had found out it was unfit for human consumption yet it was seized from the markets, and purely dangerous to human lives.
“If you want to call someone to help or stop the seizure of this illegal goods call the president. Don’t call police or me in the operation.
It doesn’t matter how far high you are or which political side you are,” he said without elaborating who had been calling to intimidate his officers trying to pin the traders.
Visit Uganda, Business Daily quotes screams Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) in a headline that 54 per cent of goods in markets are substandard.
That was according to a countrywide baseline survey conducted by the standards agency in February in the market and poses a serious problem to economic growth of the country in terms of more than UShs1 trillion in annual revenue.
The goods mainly comprise products such as electrical appliances, furniture, foodstuffs, human drugs and cancer-causing toilet papers, as well as cosmetics and lightening creams.
Coming back to the drawing table, these goods are denied entry into the countries, but still persist in penetrating the States despite tough and strict laws, implying some hands are oiled in the process to bless their safe entry.
We should not expect the government to do everything for us as citizens including shunning the goods once certified as unfit for human consumption, but instead also desist from buying them in the process.
This will mainly work in the area of foodstuffs, where there has been laxity in exposing consumers to diseases and other related dangers.
The government can do its part like forcing manufacturers to put quality mark as proof of certification to existing standards, but the public will still not be keen to observe this, though some manufacturers falsify such quality mark and put them on their goods like in the Kenyan case, where Kenya Bureau of Standard stickers were used as an indication of certification for sale to the public.
It has been reported that faking and manufacture of substandard products have assumed a global and trans-border dimension with networks across national boundaries, in thousands of porous and unmanned routes depending on the product, and hence this requires a concerted of partnership to address.
As the Director General of African Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dai Bing, speaking to African journalists once said that as Tanzania also grapples with increased trade in substandard goods, China asked African regulatory authorities and security organs to tighten security at entry points to curb the proliferation of such counterfeits.
The call perhaps came amid growing concern on phoney goods flooding the African markets, with China featuring on the list of nations that supply the substandard merchandise, which is not the case per se.
Mr Dai said the mentality was gravely tarnishing Chinese image, pointing out that the country will never engage in exportation of substandard products to any part of the world, and affirmed that in most cases, African traders were responsible for importation of substandard goods as a number of them go for cheap price at the expense of quality.
On the other hand, he said some dishonest Chinese nationals may collude with their African counterparts to smuggle counterfeit goods into the African markets and called upon African governments to strictly take serious control measures to ensure that their traders do not take in substandard goods, insisting that as the main trading partner with Africa, China was careful about what it exports.
The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) in its last year report on the state of counterfeits in the country, indicates that Tanzania and Kenya, due to their geographical location, suffer higher levels of bogus goods than the other East African Community (EAC) member states.
According to the report, majority of the imported fake products, about 80 per cent enter the country through the port of Dar es Salaam and to a lesser extent through Tanga and Mbeya, while entry via Zanzibar is also widespread.
The seriousness of the situation is underscored by the level of high value or fast selling goods targeted; food and beverages, drugs and other pharmaceutical products, electrical items and electronics, vehicle spare parts, batteries, and almost every facet of our economic lives and the quantum of these goods available on the shelves.
However, every time a new haul of fake designer goods are seized we’re told that the people who buy them are ruining the reputation of brands, stealing revenue from companies, contributing to an unethical labour market and subsidising organised crime, which should not really be the case.
A BBC investigation recently also found out that over the past two years, thousands of fake goods were seized from black markets across England.
These included alcohol, tobacco or medications, whose purchase clearly poses a health risk including toys which aren’t up to safety standards, and sunglasses which don’t have the recommended UV protection, and the same goes for goods that violate the intellectual property rights of the designers.
Consumers, who are mostly ignorant of their rights deserve awareness in terms of being educated on certified goods to consume and the ones to shun as a result of potential health risks they may have on them, but by and large, selling substandard, fake and expired goods especially foodstuffs intentionally is slow killing of fellow citizens, yet his/her money will never be enough for you as the trader.