Senana Supermarket remained closed for the third day running as the Uganda National Bureau of Standards conducted the due process of verifying the standards of the goods confiscated from the high-end store in Kampala.
The standards agency on Tuesday closed the supermarket on Buganda Road, accusing Senana Management of stocking goods, mainly consumer products, which had not undergone inspection for standards.
Senana denies any wrongdoing, saying they believed their products had gone through the due processes including payment of taxes.
Mathias Kaleebi, Acting Principal Inspector of National Inspection at UNBS says they have established processes through which imported products can be verified for standards in the countries of origin in the PVOV (Pre-Export Verification of Conformity) program.
Cargo that does not have this certificate is verified at the point of entry before being allowed to proceed on the market, but Kaleebi says the said Senana container had no proof of either.
Kaleebi said that by the time they realized this, the cargo had already left the warehouse.
The UNBS Act Cap 327, mandates the body to enforce standards in the protection of the public against the consumption of dangerous and sub-standard products.
The UNBS (Inspection & Clearance) Regulation 2022 also requires all products imported into the country to undergo UNBS Inspection and clearance, before their release to the market for public consumption.
The same Act prohibits the importation, manufacture, sale, distribution, or holding for the purpose of selling any product that does not meet compulsory Uganda standards.
“Ms. Senana Hypermarket exited container CMAU4408124 vide entry number C117121 comprising assorted supermarket food & non-food items, from the bonded Warehouse W0078 (Multiple) WITHOUT UNBS clearance,” says a statement from UNBS.
It adds that on visiting Senana Hyper Market located in Senana Mall, they explained to the Supermarket Management about their contravention of the law and temporarily sealed off the premises for inspection of the goods in question, “to ascertain their quality.”
Farida Nabirongo, the proprietor of Senana Investments, says she was surprised to see UNBS and security personnel raiding her premises.
UNBS’s Kaleebi also gave a benefit of the doubt to Nabirongo, saying she seemed to have been misinformed by her agent that the container had been cleared, not only for taxes but also for conformity to standards.
He, however, said the processes laid down compel the importer to have all clearance documents before the goods are released, adding that he does not know how the container left the Bonded Warehouse.
He however says that Senana is cooperating and that once the inspection is complete, and the goods meet the requirements of the respective Compulsory Uganda Standards, the supermarket will be reopened.
He says they will continue sensitizing importers on the inspection process, but without compromising with the national standards.