As Uganda joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Standards Day on Thursday, the Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) David Livingstone Ebiru outlined some of the initiatives and policies they have put in place to boost the quality of the Ugandan market.
According to the executive director, UNBS has developed 4265 standards in the areas of Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Chemicals and Consumer products and Management and Services at both National, Regional and International levels.
During FY 2020/21, 457 new standards were developed to support key sectors of the economy and act as a catalyst for economic growth.
The standards agency has also rolled out the following interventions to support the private sector, especially the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) post-COVID-19 recovery:
• Reduction of the Product Certification fees from Shs800,000 to Shs500,000 for MSMEs and from Shs1,300,000 to Shs1,000,000 for medium-large enterprises.
• Introduction of the Pre-Market Approval program, where local manufacturers can be granted permission to place their products on the market as they complete the process to acquire the UNBS Quality (Q) mark.
• Provision of Batch Certification where local manufacturers without the UNBS Q mark, can apply for a particular batch of their products to be certified by UNBS.
• Provision of free standards for selected products to MSME Groups or Associations.
• Harmonization of common user standards to facilitate access of locally manufactured certified products to Regional, Continental and International Markets
• Maintenance of Internationally Accredited Laboratories to provide Testing Services for both local products, imports and exports
• Simplification of standards into easy-to-use guidelines and further translating them to local languages for easier comprehension by local manufacturers.
• Decentralized of UNBS Services to Regional Offices of Mbale, Gulu and Mbarara to increase access and reduce the cost of seeking UNBS services from Kampala
• Digitization of UNBS services to enable remote and online access on UNBS services without physically coming to UNBS offices for service delivery.
According to Ebiru, UNBS has recorded an increase in certification permits from 2,705 permits in FY2019/20 to 3,419 permits in FY2020/21 from about 1,800 enterprises.
“All UNBS certified products are capable of accessing regional and international markets,” he told journalists during a briefing at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.
“UNBS’ support to MSMEs will accelerate sustainable industrialization for inclusive growth, employment and wealth creation as well as increased Household Incomes and Improved Quality of Life of Ugandans that is in line with the National Development Plan (NDPIII).”
The World Standards Day was marked under the theme “Our Shared Vision for a Better World”, and in Uganda the theme was “Building Back Post-COVID19, The Role of Standards”.