New UNBS Board of Directors inaugurates
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Francis Mwebesa, has inaugurated a new ten-member board; The National Standards Council (NSC), that will provide oversight and policy guidance to the UNBS to ensure effective service delivery.
During the inauguration ceremony, Hon. Mwebesa urged the new board to prioritize improving quality of locally manufactured goods and imports, to protect the public and environment against dangerous substandard products.
“Check the factories where goods are made to ensure that they comply with the standards before those goods make it to the market. Imports should be inspected at the country of origin before they come into the country. This will reduce the cost of doing business.” He said
Francis Mwebesa, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, urged the Board to make sure the UNBS team is of help to the public rather than being scouts on the streets just confiscating goods from shops.
“You find someone in a shop with substandard products but he also purchased them from another seller or another place. Therefore, the Board should concentrate on the source where the goods originate from. Focus on the factories rather than the shops who are third parties,” he said.
Addressing the audience at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Board members, Mr. Charles Musekuura, the incoming Chairperson of the Board, said the team of 10 will ensure that the quality of products both on the Ugandan market and for export are of the highest quality through standardization.
“We are going to fight to ensure that our quality assurance laboratories are spread out across the country and can test any products. We will also approve the standards required for a product to be of good quality,” he said.
The UNBS Executive Director, Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru, noted that with the new Board in place, market interventions are bound to continue to ensure improved product quality and access to markets, as well as protection of citizens from substandard products.
“We are going to fight to ensure that our quality assurance laboratories are spread out across the country and can test any products. We will also approve the standards required for a product to be of good quality. We still require more staff to complete the decentralization process. We are short-staffed, especially at the border posts,” he said.
He also urged the new members to acquaint themselves with the UNBS mandate, to enable them execute their roles which include approval of National Standards for implementation in trade and the industry.
Members of the Board include; Mr. Charles Musekuura, Chairperson of the Board; Dr. Tom Okia Okurut, former National Environment Authority (NEMA); Mr. Andima Alfred Oyo,Ex-Official MTIC- Under Secretary; Eng. James Kabali Kalibbala, Managing Director and Proprietor Electoral Controls and Switchgear; and Ms. Sarah Irene Kibuka Walusimbi, Advocate, Mr. Robert Mwanje, Chairperson- Grain Council; Dr. Aminah Zawedde, Ex-Official Permanent Secretary- Ministry of ICT; Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru, Secretary of the Board; Ms. Pamella Achii and Mr. Omar Mohammed.
Meanwhile UNBS has engaged with importers of Medical devices, and Health care products' traders to ensure good quality of products on the market
The Pre- Export Verification of Conformity (PVOC) program has been designed to provide maximum flexibility to exporters & importers by providing four (4) possible certification schemes (routes) of imports which is risk based.
The route applied according to UNBS depends on the frequency of exporters’ shipments to Uganda, product risk level and the level of compliance they are able to demonstrate initially when applying for certification.
The Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) facilitates trade by ensuring that compliant goods are given expedited clearance at the port of entry - Sam Mwesigye, UNBS
Sam Mwesigye, UNBS said “PVoC blocks importation of substandard & counterfeit goods at source which helps to ensure quality of products, health and safety, and environmental protection for consumers”
The four routes includes; Route A (Consignment inspection and Testing), Route B (Product Registration), Route C (Product Licensing), Route D (Consignment inspection and Testing-Consolidators)
UNBS was established as a semi-autonomous body by an Act of Parliament in 1983, with the NSC as its policy making body.
The UNBS annual report 2020/2021 states that products worth more than Shs2.5b (USD 643,870.75) were destroyed due to non-conformance to standards.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is a Government Agency responsible for the Developing, Promotion and Enforcement of National Standards in order to protect the Health and Safety of the Public and the Environment against Harmful and Sub-Standard Products; as well as Promoting Fair Trade Practices and Competition.