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Should Uganda Switch off fake phones or Not? PDF Print E-mail

Phones, especially mobile have opened up a whole new era in most spheres of everyday living. They have removed  the necessity for  physical travel making communication simpler and cheaper. Businesses have been greatly enhanced in the following ways: it is now possible to call a supplier to ascertain arrival of goods before one embarks on a journey to pick them. International calls make international business more achievable and profitable. In the area of health, mobile phones have facilitated the administration and dissemination of information to remote areas thereby saving lives.


The education sector have been boosted by online and offline availability of reading content, record management and administration systems. Socially there is a lot that is happening including features like radio, camera, music as well as Internet / facebook on smart phones.

All these and many more, affirm the importance and usefulness of mobile phones, and so it was with mixed feelings that most people learned of the intended disabling of fake phones.

Importers and users of fake phones have been given 3 months to dispose them off before they are switched off the networks though some members of the public are sceptical of UCC’s determination to see the exercise through. This is not the first time that government had outlawed an item and it continued to be seen on the market as seen with the ban on used refridegerators use of buveera (polythene bags).

On the I-Network mailing list, seven of the comments on the topic were against the move, two were for it and fifteen had something else to say about the issue. On the Monitor Newspaper website, forty eight were against the move, ten were for it and thirty three had something else to say about the issue. Those against the move are bitter with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Uganda Bureau of Statistitcs (UBOS) who must have known about the fake phones but allowed them entry into the country anyway. They have accused URA and UBOS of double standards and trying to maximise revenues at the expense of ordinary folk.  On the other hand some people want compensation for those who are affected from Government since it responsible for ensuing that imitations are not allowed into the country and on to the market.

There are also grous of people that no idea that some phones were actually not genuine especially given the fact that they performed as  expected particularly on basic functions like calling and texting.
The issue of fake phone has far reaching implications that affect both the end users and the vendors. Although the vendor enjoys sales that would otherwise have not been possible, since most people cannot afford the costs of genuine phones, the end user is going to have to fork out more money to purchase a genuine phone.

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