08th OCTOBER 2021
Pheona is the President of Uganda Law Society (ULS), an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda and subordinate courts thereto. She currently serves as Senior Manager Legal Services at National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).
Here Pheona spares a moment to answer a few questions from consumers…
Except for sector-specific laws, there is no cross-cutting consumer protection regime; what is the Uganda Law Society doing to address this?
Under the Uganda Law Society Act, we have the mandate to protect and assist the public in Uganda in all matters touching, ancillary or incidental to the law and to assist the Government and the courts in all matters affecting legislation and the administration and practice of law in Uganda.
Regarding laws, the Ministry of Trade is developing a Consumer Protection Bill to address consumer rights and protection. ULS is preparing our proposals and comments on this. This is in addition to the already existing National Competition and Consumer Protection Policy of 2014. We do need a Competition law, and ULS is advocating actively for this. ULS has, through a partnership with PSFU, looked at issues like dumping and quality control.
Through our health and the Law Cluster, we have started a partnership with the Ministry of Health, which began with an engagement on the efficacy and safety of the Vaccination process. We also sought enforcement of the right to affordable health in court.
ULS has also engaged the Ministry of Health on the lack of enforcement of the Tobacco control regulations.
The law often lags behind technology; how can Regulation adapt to protect consumers and encourage innovation in these new environments?
There is a need to have an all-purpose and consumer-centric regulation that is progressive in nature with provisions on minimum required standards and incentives to protect consumers and encourage innovation.
Collaborative and consultative regulation can protect consumers and encourage innovation through the involvement of the public in the development of legal instruments. For example, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) involves civil society, academia, and other stakeholders to participate in technical committees that develop standards for goods/products coming into Uganda.
How is the ULS improving the capacity of its members on consumer protection?
Objective 1 of the ULS strategic objectives is to be valuable to Members’ Professional and Business Development. As the ULS, we engage our membership in Continuous Legal Education (CLE) training regarding various law disciplines old and emerging. If a cross-cutting consumer protection regime comes into force, as the ULS, we shall be more than willing to improve the capacity of our members to match up to the new development as we have done before.
Through our partnerships with stakeholders, we develop manuals to guide litigators, policymakers, and legislators in dealing with consumer protection issues.
For more accessible consumer tips, tools and resources, get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, toll-free on 0800222777 or Twitter @ConsumerUCC.