All products covered by compulsory standards must be certified by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and issued with its Distinctive Mark before they are allowed on the market, following the coming into force of the Use of Distinctive Mark Regulation, 2018 on 1st January 2019.
Some of the products that must be certified before they are allowed on the market covered by compulsory standards include foods, drinks, electronics, cosmetics, steel products and cement, confectionaries (bread and biscuits), apiary and mattresses, among others.
The UNBS Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo said: “The new regulation is part of our consumer protection efforts to ensure that locally manufactured products comply with quality standards. This will further enhance the competitiveness and increase access for locally manufactured products to regional and international markets”.
Under the new regulations, UNBS has also revised the annual permit fees for each product for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from UGX,000 to UGX350,000 to encourage certification of more SMEs.
To-date UNBS has developed over 3,000 standards of which about 1,300 are compulsory standards covered by the new regulation.
Certified products undergo conformity assessments that include product testing, and auditing production systems to ensure that they meet standards for good hygienic and manufacturing practices. All complying products are issued with UNBS Distinctive Mark.
To be certified, companies must register with UNBS and pay applicable fees for product testing, auditing and submit evidence of payment to UNBS.
Additionally, UNBS auditors will carry out certification audits and pick samples for laboratory analysis and testing and thereafter, a product will be issued with a UNBS Distinctive Mark once it has been found to meet the requirements of a particular standard.
UNBS is also working with industry associations such as Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA), Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association (UWEAL), The Uganda Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO) to build the capacity of their members to meet certification requirements.
Leaders of the private sector associations have been trained and empowered to advise their membership on certification requirements and also guide them through the certification process and requirements.