Sunday, November 8, 2009

New tough law on used cars out

THE Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) will on November 1 launch the pre-export verification conformity-to-standards scheme, targeting the road worthiness of all used vehicles imported into the country.

The inspections will be conducted from the country of origin before the vehicles are imported. The scheme will focus on detailing the condition, accessories, structural, functional and mechanical integrity of used vehicles destined to Uganda prior to importation.

Certification will then be issued to the vehicles that are appraised as road worthy and a report attesting to the inspection and certification will be given to the importer.

The UNBS explained in a statement this week that the country was experiencing an unprecedented influx of imported used vehicles, mostly originating from the Middle East, Japan and Europe.

“Unfortunately, some of these vehicles are substandard and in dangerous mechanical conditions that can endanger the public and the environment,” the statement said.

“In addition, some of the imported cars are obtained illegally in the country of origin and shipped to Uganda without following proper procedures.

“The situation is compounded by the fact that second-hand vehicles in most cases produce impermissible levels of emissions that pollute the environment, thereby adversely contributing to climate change,” the statement added.

The Japan Export Vehicle Centre Company, Jabil Kilimanjaro Auto Elect Mechanic & Paints Company, together with the East Africa Auto-Mobile Services, have been contracted to handle the exercise, expected to further increase the costs of imported used cars.

Richard Ebong, a UNBS senior market surveillance officer, told clearing and forwarding agents at a sensitisation workshop at Hotel Africana in Kampala that used vehicles entering into the country without an inspection certificate will be subjected to a penalty of 15% of the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value. In addition, they will also be subjected to inspection.

Inspection fees for cars originating from Japan will be $145, Singapore $180, the UK 125 pounds, South Africa 1,685 rands and Dubai $125.

Kassim Omar, the clearing and forwarding national chairman, called for more public sensitisation to avoid the conflicts that may arise during the implementation of the scheme.

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