NDA closes 21 illegal veterinary drug outlets

The National Drug Authority (NDA) has shut down 21 illegal veterinary drug outlets in nine districts located in Western Uganda following a week-long operation to improve compliance with the Authority’s quality standards.

Stephen Ssemakalu, a Regulatory Officer at NDA, revealed that starting from 13th to 22nd October, Authority staff have been conducting compliance visits to veterinary drug outlets, agrochemical shops and some general merchandise shops in the districts of Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Bunyangabu, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Mityana, Kassanda and Mubende.

“During the operation, 69 trading centres were visited in which 149 outlets were inspected. Of these, 21 were found to be illegal and were closed and 25 boxes of assorted veterinary medicines estimated at Shs 53,700,000 were impounded,” Ssemakalu said.

He noted that most of the offending drug outlets were closed for employing unqualified personnel.

“Medicines in the hands of unqualified persons expose the public to wrong prescriptions, drug resistance, loss of income and other health-related risks, including death,” he said. “These operations and post-market surveillance activities are intended to protect the population from substandard, counterfeit, unregistered, expired and unqualified operators.”

Ssemakalu said they found out that several general merchandise and agro-chemical shops, including some in Ruterwa trading centre in Kyegegwa, and Mabira farmers’ choice in Kyenjojo district, were illegally selling veterinary products.

The NDA official appealed to the general public to always seek advice from qualified veterinary practitioners and buy veterinary medicines from licensed drug outlets.

“Avoid buying medicines from hawkers because it is an illegal practice, and NDA cannot guarantee the quality of those medicines.”

Adulterated pesticides

The NDA Regional Manager (Western) Christopher Luzinda said they have been receiving complaints from livestock keepers about the pervasive fake acaricides on the market.

“We have been receiving complaints that pesticides meant for killing ticks are no longer working so we had to come on ground to find out why,” Luzinda said.

Luzinda said it was established that some veterinary drug attendants dilute the pesticides in their stores, with the result that when livestock farmers buy them, they do not work.

He said they have withdrawn the drugs from the illegal outlets to safeguard the public and ensure those operators get licenses or employ qualified personnel to operate them.

“We have not impounded these drugs on account that they are fake, but so that the operators can follow the guidelines and once they are done, they will take them back,” he said.

NDA is a government agency mandated to ensure that the population accesses safe, efficacious and quality human and veterinary medicines from licensed drug outlets manned by qualified medical personnel.

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Lyamujungu Cooperative reinvests all dividends to settle outstanding loan

Members of Kabale-based Lyamujungu Co-operative Financial Services Ltd have resolved to reinvest all their dividends in order to absorb the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected many financial institutions in Uganda.

The decision was made during the cooperative’s recent scientific Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Saturday, October 17, 2020.

According to the cooperative’s General Manager, Dicky Byamukama, the successful extraordinary annual general meeting held at Kizinga Church of Uganda, was attended by over 100 delegates and all the board members.

“To observe the COVID-19 SOPs, management was represented by branch managers and senior management staff. We did not compromise on the social distancing aspect either,” Byamukama said.

He confirmed that during the AGM members unanimously agreed to recapitalize Shs 235m dividends as part of their share capital to boost the cooperative’s growth.

“All members appreciated the advice from the supervisory committee where every share had generated 1000 shillings as dividends and they resolved to recapitalize those dividends,” Byamukama explained.

He, however, reported that some members had rejected the idea until the District Commercial Officer (DCO), Erasmus Natumanya advised them on the importance of reinvesting dividends at this material time.

“Definitely it was a big debate but our guest of honour (DCO) added his voice in instilling the purpose of saving dividends.”

He adds that the reinvested dividends will enable the cooperative to settle a loan worth Shs 500mfrom the Microfinance Support Center, of which Shs 350m remains unpaid.

The General Manager noted that the cooperative’s financial activities have been greatly affected by the cross border conflict between Uganda and Rwanda

“Actually we have suffered much since most of our members had businesses in Rwanda which were affected. As a result, many are no longer saving nor are they picking loans for business investments,” Byamukama said.

He says the cooperative is looking forward to acquiring land titles to protect, secure and safeguard the cooperative’s capital assets

“There should be modalities put in place to ensure that all our land gets titles to avoid instances of land grabbing which is a common practice today.”

Kabale District Commercial Officer, Erasmus Natumanya advised that delegates be availed with by-laws to guide them in cooperative legal frameworks.

Robert Asiimwe, a representative from Uganda Co-operative Alliance thanked delegates for patronizing their cooperative.

A leading cooperative

One of the leading cooperatives in South Western Uganda, Lyamujungu Co-operative Financial Services Ltd (LCFSL) started in August 1984 with 16 members.

It was registered by the Registrar of Co-operatives in 1990 under Reg. No 5695 and mandated to operate within greater Kabale District.

Currently, it has 7 branches and four outreaches, with a total of 23,000 members, total savings of Shs 4.1bn, total share capital of Shs 3.05bn, a net surplus of Shs 301m, and a loan portfolio of 8.2bn.

According to its General Manager, Lyamujungu is keen to convert into a Microfinance Deposit-taking Institution (MDI) in the next 5 years.

“Through this new law where Bank of Uganda is to take on some cooperatives in terms of supervision and guidance, we see Lyamujungu getting promoted to a Tier 3 MDI,” says Byamukama.

He urged the cooperators to improve on their savings and buy more share capital to anticipate further institutional growth and support.

“There is need to encourage our members to develop a saving culture in a bid to foster the SACCO’s operations for growth and development.”

He, however, warned its members to desist from multiple borrowing that has resulted in poor loan repayments.

The meeting also recommended that capital expenditures be minimized until the financial environment normalises.

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