Members of Parliament on the Committee of Tourism, Trade and Industry have highly praised the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) for its strides in the ensuring consumer protection and fair trade.
During the trade committee’s guided tour to UNBS head offices in Bweyogerere as part of their orientation into the sector, the committee members noted that UNBS has done a remarkable job, despite its limited capacity in terms of funding and staffing.
“We know UNBS has challenges like limited funds to carry out operations. However, there is government support and commitment to improve the capacity of the bureau. As a committee, we pledge full support to this cause to enable UNBS ably implement its mandate which is so critical in ensuring the health and safety of Ugandans as well as improving the competitiveness of our enterprises” David Lukyamuzi Kalwanga, on behalf of the committee’s chairperson.
According to the UNBS Executive Director, David Livingstone Ebiru, supporting the implementation of the Buy Uganda Build Uganda program and decentralisation of Standardisation services is UNBS’s focus and current priority.
UNBS encouraged all local enterprises to embrace standards through numerous packages that include among others: Specialised training and capacity building programs on standardisation to help MSMEs comply with existing safety and quality requirements, Reduction of Certification fees from 800,000/= to 500,000/= for MSMEs and 1,300,000/= to 1,000,000/= for Large Enterprises per annum and Pre-Market Approval and Batch Certification scheme as interim measures for Enterprises to access the market as they wait to complete the certification process.
Another package is offering free standards to MSMEs Associations and Enterprises involved in production of COVID 19 related supplies like Masks and Sanitizers.
Inadequate resources however, remain a challenge for UNBS as the chairperson of the National Standards Council, Masitula Munyaami Male notes.
“UNBS has commenced on decentralisation of services to different parts of the country outside Kampala, with an aim of taking services closer to the people. However, the staffing levels and other facilities in these regional offices are not yet adequate to support the required UNBS services in these areas,” remarked Munyaami noted.
So far, UNBS has acquired land through Uganda Investment Authority (UIA); 3 Acres of Land at Mbarara Industrial Park (Kakyeka) and 5 Acres of Land at SINO Mbale Industrial Park to establish Quality Infrastructure.
With support from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, UNBS is set to develop the Regional Quality infrastructure in the above two cities to fully support the industrialization agenda and the Parish Development Model program.
The Members of Parliament on the Committee of Tourism, Trade and Industry pledged to offer full support to UNBS during their tenure, to enhance implementation of the UNBS mandate across the country.
Some of the UNBS facilities visited by the MPs at the UNBS head office in Bweyogerere include; the internationally accredited Food Safety laboratories, Energy Meters Testing laboratory, and the Calibration rig for fuel tankers.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is a Government Agency responsible for developing, promoting and enforcing of national standards in the protection of Public Health and Safety, and the Environment against harmful and sub-standard products.