Local traders dealing in used electrical and electronic equipment to start complying with new regulations that came into force on July 11, 2022.
The call was made July 26, 2022, during a sector meeting that brought together the Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA), and partners- Rwanda National Police (RNP), Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), and Rwanda Energy Group (REG).
The regulations govern, among others, consumer electronics, office, IT and telecommunication equipment, refrigerator equipment, large and small household appliances, lighting fixtures and lamps, sports and leisure appliances, and toys.
Among them include telephones, electric cables, computers, television sets, music instruments (guitar, piano, keyboard, and sound speakers), cameras as well as TV and satellite receivers.
Others include; CD and MP3 players, radios, scanners, video mixing and cutting devices, decoders, air conditioners, washing machines, cooking stoves, and amplifiers.
The Dos and Don’ts
Under the new regulations, dealers in used electrical and electronic equipment can apply for a license that is issued by RICA, valid for two years, but renewable.
Before buying second-hand electronics, the dealer in second-hand electronics must first verify that the seller is the rightful owner of the equipment and record detailed particulars.
A dealer is required to ensure that the used electrical and electronic equipment he or she intends to buy meets the safety requirements of the standards and should record a description of the equipment.
The records to be kept for at least two years should indicate the category, brand and model name and number, serial number, and information relating to International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and International Mobile Equipment Identity Software Version (IMEI-SV) per slot where applicable.
RICA Director General, Beatrice Uwumukiza explained why these regulations must be enforced, saying that lack of regulations governing second-hand electrical and electronic equipment had left a vacuum including illegal trade and trade in stolen items.
“We now have clear regulations defining what you need to do as a trader or buyer of used electrical and electronic equipment, licensing and record keeping to prevent related lawlessness. We are everywhere across the country to enforce these regulations because we work with other public institutions like Rwanda National Police and RIB,” Uwumukiza said.
RNP spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said that the regulations facilitate in enforcement.
“As a law enforcement organ, it will be easy to track chains of illegal dealers since the regulations require the operator to be licensed, keep records of what they have bought and sold. The regulations come as a big step against theft and selling stolen or smuggled used electrical and electronic equipment,” CP Kabera said.
RIB spokesperson, Thierry Murangira said that there will be no more excuses that a trader or buyer doesn’t know where they got the electronic device under question, including those who were changing serial numbers.
“Now the seller and buyer have the legal responsibility to justify the origin of the product. This is a preventive measure because now thieves will not get buyers of stolen electronics,” Murangira said.
Administrative penalties range from Rwf50, 000 to Rwf200,000 for the late request of license renewal, failure to submit on time a report required by the authority or cooperate with inspectors; failure to make sale contract; failure to notify particular changes or issue invoice; failure to maintain proper data records of used electrical or electronic equipment in his or her possession; and to operate without a license or with an expired license.