UGANDA – Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) said it will seize goods found on the market without a distinctive mark, giving manufacturers and processors till end of January for certification of all products in the market.
Dr Ben Manyindo, the UNBS executive director, said the new regulation is part of the agency’s need to protect consumers as well as ensuring that locally manufactured products comply with quality standards.
“All products covered by compulsory standards must be certified by UNBS and issued with a distinctive mark before they are allowed on the market [by January 1, 2019,” reads a notice issued by UNBS.
According to Dr Ben Manyindo, the new regulations will further enhance competitiveness of Ugandan goods across the region as well as increasing access for locally manufactured products to regional and international markets.
In July 2018, UNBS announced new regulations, making it mandatory for all goods to be certified and henceforth bare a distinctive quality mark covered by the compulsory standards before entry into the market.
Following the new regulations, the country had rolled out a training and technical assistance initiative on how to produce products that comply with the standards.
This had seen over 200 businesses mainly dealing in beverages, cosmetics, food stuffs, confectioneries enroll for the training.
To-date UNBS has developed over 3,000 standards of which about 1,300 are compulsory standards covered by the new regulation.
The regulations by the standards agency covers a wide range of products including foods, drinks, confectioneries, electronics, cosmetics, steel products and cement, apiary and mattresses, among others consumer packed goods.
In a bid to encourage enterprises to certify their products, under the new regulations, UNBS also revised the annual permit fees for each product produced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from US$ 216.1 (UShs800,000) to US$94.5 (UShs350,000).
However, Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA), has appealed to the agency to allocate more time for compliance arguing that the certification is a process and the cost much as reduced, is still prohibitive.
According to Mr Jooga Kawule, the USSIA head of membership, those that have started the process should be excused and given time, adding that government should come up with a window or a mechanism that encourages small scale industries to certify their goods.