The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has directed the government chemist to investigate a substance that is allegedly inside some thermos flasks.
Messages have been circulating on social media stating that there is a tablet-like substance in thermos flasks and it is harmful to human health.
While raising a matter of national importance, Hon Winfred Kiiza, the former Leader of the Opposition, said after receiving the messages, she broke two of her flasks and found three tablet-like substances in them.
The substance was laid on table by Hon. Winfred Kiiza during plenary sitting on Wednesday, 23 January 2019.
“I call upon the Ministry of Trade, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the Ministry of Health to take interest and find out why such substances are in flasks,” said Winfred Kiiza.
Hon. Medard Lubega Sseggona (DP, Busiro County East) blamed the Uganda National Bureau of Standards for failing to stop importation of such goods into the country.
“The National Bureau of Standards with police have been attacking shops in Kampala, confiscating property of Ugandans and what they say is that they are enforcing standards. But one would wonder where these people are when these things (flasks with harmful substances) are being imported into the country,” said Sseggona.
The Minister of State forFinance (Planning), David Bahati, said that government will present a consumer protection Bill to address inspection of goods to ensure quality standards.
“We discussed the Bill at Cabinet and passed it. We expect it to be tabled before Parliament in February,” said Bahati.
While responding to the Speaker’s concern on the shortage of inspection officers at the borders, Bahati said this would be addressed in the 2019/2020 budget.
Hon. Alex Byarugaba (NRM, Isingiro County South) suggested that the flasks in question should be laid on table so that they are known to the public.
Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda however, said that government should first investigate the substance before the flask is laid in the House.
“The trouble we are going to find ourselves in is to lay the flasks and condemn them even before they are investigated. Let the substances first be investigated and if they are found to be harmful, the flasks can be laid,” said Ssemujju.
The Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs, Bright Rwamirama, agreed with Ssemujju saying that laying the flasks before the substances are investigated could cause a trade war, if the substance is found not to be harmful.
“This can be a marketing strategy. Let these materials first be tested because if we move on hearsay, somebody could actually cause a problem here,” said Rwamirama.
“The Clerk to Parliament should send the items to the government chemist so that they can write a report and get back to us,” said Kadaga.