Commitee meets stakeholders on the Anti-counterfeiting Goods Bill, 2015 and the sale of Goods and Supply of Services Bill, 2015
Discussed in the Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry on February 22nd, 2017
The meeting was called to order at 10:20 a.m. by the Chairperson. Chairing the meeting was the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Alex Ruhunda. He welcomed the members of the committee and the guests from UMA, PSFU, UNCCI, KACITA; and informed the members that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Anti-counterfeiting Goods Bill, 2015 and The sale of Goods and Supply of Services Bill, 2015
Presentation from UMA
The meeting received the following proposed amendments: –
- The title of the Bill should include the fact that it seeks to avail remedies in the case of infringement to owners of intellectual property rights in case of counterfeiting.
- Proposed that substandard goods be included in the Bill, other than limiting it to counterfeit trademark and pirated products.
- There is need to put in place a Counterfeiting tribunal to adjudicate matters related thereto. Appeals can be made to the High Court.
- There is need to incorporate criminal liability for corporate persons that is visited on the directors.
- Our system uses the civil and criminal legal systems, but a civil court cannot have jurisdiction over the criminal matters. As a result, we opted to create a tribunal to handle criminal matters.
PRIVATE SECTOR FOUNDATION UGANDA
The meeting received the following proposed amendments on the Anti-Counterfeiting Bill:
- Clause 1: the Bill needs to recognize the policy enacted by EALA for domestication.
- Clause 2: Substitute the word “Manufacture” with “Produce”.
- Clause 5 (2): Goods should remain in lawful custody till completion of prosecution. The law related to the management of exhibits should apply.
- Clause 9 (2): the interest of the counterfeited product should be put into consideration, so that the destruction by government is witnessed, as opposed to leaving the entire product in the hands of government. The goods risk returning to the market.
- Clause 11 (1): The Bill proposes that ignorance is a defense yet it is not a defense.
UGANDA NATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
The meeting received the following submission not in line with the two (2) Bills
- We don’t have much money in the economy since most money is going out of the economy. Expensive finance, local content and big contracts are being done by foreign companies.
- We are not the responsible agency. We have made submissions to the responsible offices. We are not against the foreign investment, but there should be a balance.
- Our elections were meant to be held in December 2016, we took the necessary steps, but the minister of trade stopped the election claiming the election would not be free and fair. We since contacted the Attorney General since we thought government had no business in our affairs.
- Steel rolling mills borrowed USD 50m to buy new machinery. By the time the machine was set up and ready to commission, standard chartered Bank was taking over the industry.
- The cost of politics is so high, and public expenditure.
- If the traders in South Sudan were paid, it would be about 40 million USD, and the economy would be revived.
PRESENTATION FROM THE NATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
- The meeting received the following proposed amendments: –
- There is an argument that the proposed Bill is a duplication of intellectual property law.
- The Law is meant to eliminate unnecessary competition among manufacturers. But before we make it illegal, we need to look at global trends. China is thriving on copying from others.
- The Bill seeks to protect the manufacturer and forgets the consumer. Let us put in a condition that protects the consumer.
- The distributor of counterfeited products from other countries is not catered for in the Bill. For example, the importer of counterfeited products.
- There is a challenge of confiscation of counterfeit products in the market. The person from whom the product is confiscated is not given a document. We must observe that s/he is innocent until proven guilty.
- Compensation needs to be provided for in the Bill. There are penalties in the Bill already.
- This Bill is anchored on the Police, but should have been with UNBS. Police are the complainant and the same time, the investigator.
- What are the national interests in as far as nurturing the local interest? There is no country in this world that thrived without counterfeiting. If it is locally counterfeited, it should be okay.
- The local market may not be able to differentiate between the authentic and counterfeit product.
KAMPALA CITY TRADERS ASSOCIATION (KACITA)
We raised a concern earlier on why banks were charging interests on already existing loans. We saw banks make more profit in the short run, but the economy collapses in the long run.
Our banking is foreign, construction is also foreign and the construction companies have refused to buy locally made raw materials, on top of us paying for the services through a loan from such countries.
Our absorption of loans is low.
We have no national flag carrier. The issue is with enhance (a handler) at Entebbe. How did it even come into place?
SGS- a foreign Swiss inspection company yet it has been given mandate to carryout inspection on vehicles. A responsibility that was originally for the police.
Proposed Amendments to the Anti-Counterfeiting Bill:
The committee received the following proposed amendments:-
- The existing laws are available to handle counterfeit products. The issue is substandard goods. If this committee is to consider anything, it should be what protects the consumer.
- Clause 6 (4) the fine should be expressed in terms of damage made to the brand owner whose goods have been counterfeited.
- Clause 17: the share given to the state is too high. Should be reduced.
Proposed Amendments on the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Bill 2015
The committee received the following proposed amendments;
- Clause 6: The enforceable contract should be raised from 500,000/- to 2,000,000’- to cater for the many people who enter into oral contracts.
- Clause 22: what if the specifications made precludes all the competitors?
- Clause 27 (3): what is the condition for part payment?
- Clause 33 (2): address the issue where a bill of lading is passed to the buyer on condition that it will be cleared as the buyer sells.
- Clause 43: Insert a provision for an agent appointed by the principle.
- Clause 41 (3): carrier agents who fail to perform their part of the bargain.
The meeting resolved that: –
- The Minister of Trade should come and explain why she interfered in the matters of national Chamber of Commerce.
- When MDA’s are invited by parliament and they send junior staff it was agreed that they should be sent away because they are usually not conversant with the sectors.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:40 pm to Wednesday 1st March 2017