Opinion

Complaint against bureau of standard

I am writing to make a formal complaint against the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS) and the consumer protection council. This is according to Article 18,which states that a consumer may seek to enforce any right under this act or under a consumer transaction by making a complaint to the consumer protection council.

I am bringing this complaint on my own behalf as a citizen of the Republic of South Sudan and a consumer of locally manufactured and imported products.

The South Sudan National Bureau of Standards is mandated to promote standardization in industry and commerce for the facilitation of trade and protection of consumers and environment. It is charged with promoting a level playing field in the market for both locally manufactured and imported products and regulating the quality of products being imported to South Sudan through issuance of certificates of conformity for products that meet the required standard. However, the issue at hand is concerning a surge in counterfeit goods, especiallybathing soaps, lotions, body creams, cosmetics products and even some alcoholic beverages.

The lack of regulatory capacity makes unauthorised entry of counterfeit products possible. Products in high demand can be manufactured based on the same or similar designs often packaged and branded in ways to make them indistinguishable from the original. The counterfeit goods can then be sold through parallel markets, and in the case of our nation, even introduced into the licit supply chain. Without the overheads of the licit products, these counterfeits can be priced extremely competitively while remaining vastly profitable. Due to this edge as well as other factors contributing to the current South Sudanese market economy, counterfeit products are far more common than the originals.

Uncountable products are often dangerous products. Knockoff toy producers need not worry about choking hazards and even worse, its toxicity.

This itself is a violation of the constitutional mandate that the SSNBS and consumer protection council should uphold under Article 31 of the South Sudan’s constitution which clearly states that all levels of government shall promote public health, establish, rehabilitate and develop basic medical and diagnostic institutions and provide free primary health care and emergency services for all citizens.

In this way, the proliferation of counterfeit cosmetics, lotions and soaps anywhere in this world have ramifications for global health. This applies equally to false and misleading branding as to chemical content, freshness and potency. Defined in this way, pharmaceutical counterfeiting is a form of health fraud that often amounts to mass manslaughter.

Counterfeit products are often smuggled both to circumvent problematic inspection and to evade import taxes. Profits can be further maximised by avoiding taxes: import duties are evaded through customs fraud or outright smuggling, and sales taxes are avoided through informal retailing. The allowance of such practices to prevail downplays the economic rights of the South Sudanese people as the SSNBS is under constitutional mandates to uphold Article 37(2) that states all levels of government shall develop regulate the economy in order to achieve prosperity through policies aimed at increasing production, creating an efficient and self-reliant economy and encouraging free market and prohibition of monopoly.

Since they are generally retailed irregularly, sales taxes are also avoided. Tax evasion also allows counterfeit goods to be priced extremely competitively, while at the same time affording attractive profits for the dealers. By displacing the sales of legitimate products, they undermine the tax base, and thus negatively affect the South Sudanese economy and gradually decreases availability of public services available for all.

I hope that my concerns on the massive surge on counterfeit products can be looked at objectively by all state bodies involved as stated in the CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2011 which is under article 24, states that in order to better achieve the purposes of this act, the council may consult with each 10 states of South Sudan regulatory authorities, or consumer protection associations, with respect to the delivery of any goods or services, so as to identify any practices that are inconsistent with the purposes and principles of this act and develop proposals for reform any such practices or report to the minister with recommendations for reforms and national policy.

I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem. I will wait for a response before seeking help from the consumer protection council. I hope my report helps law enforcement detect patterns of wrongdoing and may lead to an investigation.

                       Yours sincerely

                       CONCERNED CITIZEN OF SOUTH SUDAN

                       PAMELA ACHAN VICTOR

                      0921364530

achanvictor01@gmail.com

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