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Minister announces the ban on old Computers PDF Print E-mail

Members on the I-Network mailing list react to Syda Bumba, Minister of Finance, ban on old computers. Members on the I-Network discussion group had this to day about the ban.

''A ban is being imposed on old computers, freezers and refrigerators. However I am extending a three-month moratorium to enable goods in transit and in bonded warehouses to be cleared. We owe protection of our environment a duty and we cannot relax on this front. I seek your understanding that together, we safeguard our environment or else we shall pay an immense price in the future. The details are contained in the Finance Amendment Bill.'' Syda Bbumba, Minister of Finance.


''Is there a win-win situation to this?'' Gwoke Joachim

''How many European countries import second hand PCs? Why is it that all organisations doing this kind of refurbishment are targeting African and other third world countries? In the US, there are schools that are so badly off that they would do with donations of second hand PCs but not even one is taken there and yet you keep hearing of American organisations claiming to help schools far away in Africa without first sorting out their backyard. I am happy that the Government has finally done away with this stuff.'' James Wire, Linux Solutions.

''Those arrogant imperialists will not debase us! And we are tired of Africa being a dumping ground for American and European Crap! But not many Ugandans can afford brand new computers. I agree on regulation of trade in used computers but I am not sure we will be able to get PCs to 10% of Uganda if we go brand new. I would suggest, we  walk before running.''Mutaremwa Frank

Uganda is behind in ICT and this measure will make that only worse, without solving the problem. Reinier Battenberg, Director Mountbatten Ltd.

The government is aiming for environment protection in this ban of 'old' computers and I support what they are after but not how they are doing it. There was no mention of the age of computers that are referred to as old.  Derek Sejjuko

The kind of people we deal with, if we are to create categories between old equipment, I am afraid, everything will end up on the market.  Johnson Mwebaze

The government is not going to get itself together for a while to define standards and monitor disposal of e-waste for reasons like lack of funds, expertise etc Meanwhile there are no private investors, locally or foreign who are prepared to invest in such a facillity just yet. So for the time being I would go along with the ban until it becomes easier to manage the waste.  Emmanuel Mulo

In Mombasa, some people already started with an e-waste center:http://www.cfsk.org/ewaste.html. If you would combine a proper accredited disposal facility, together with (tax) incentives and a system like you have for empty soda and beer bottles (where you pay the disposal fee upon purchase, and collect it back upon delivering the hardware at the e-waste center), we could create a much more advantages situation than by merely banning cheap ICT hardware. Reinier Battenberg, Director Mountbatten Ltd.

Let us advocate for new and affordable computers. Why can’t we think of assembling them in Uganda instead of importing "junk".  Aramanzan Madanda, Assistant Lecturer, Dept. of Women & Gender Studies, Makerere University

There is a purpose for everything. There is a purpose for well-refurbished PC's, laptops and servers, and for new ones. Stuff that works, is useful, and e-waste can be an opportunity as well. If managed correctly and I will not claim that is easy.

If the environment is the biggest issue, than coming up with a solution, instead of postponing the inevitable e-waste seems more logical. Besides, e-waste contains a lot of very valuable material, mainly metals. Reinier Battenber, Director Mountbatten Ltd

Secondhand LCDs and computers make for great media stations at my house.  Sure, if they get too old they need to go away, but there should be proper e-waste governance to make sure that they just don’t go into the landfills.  If you aren’t an animator, a film editor, or graphics person, there is absolutely NO reason to be on the bleeding edge of computing technology. From what it sounds like, this would just force many business owners (like myself) to buy our second-hand computers abroad; thus harming yet another growing industry here in Uganda. Jonathan D. Gosier, CEO, Appfrica.org

I can't see this as being a good idea. I would agree on say banning computer equipment over a certain age, but technically what you are saying is if I buy a second hand computer off eBay say 3 months old it can't be sold in Uganda? I can see the retails on bombo road shaking their hands, but considering the difference between the new and used computer is about Ush 300,000, can't say it is helping much. I believe that it is possible to dispose of computers safely with the proper techniques and equipment, and that several companies were in line to do this! Is this now not the case? Has some one told them there livelihood is over? Simon Vass, Technical Manager E-Tech Uganda Ltd

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