A number of products on Ugandan market are not certified due to high cost of acquiring Q-Mark
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has phased out some of the charges which were previously being levied on enterprises seeking certification of their products and these include Initial Audit Fees of Shs 250,000 and Surveillance Audit Fees of Shs 250,000. This implies that UNBS will from 1st July, 2021 conduct the certification and surveillance audits on Enterprises seeking to acquire the Quality Mark (Q-Mark) free of charge.
In a statement, UNBS says, Micro and Small Enterprises will now only pay certification fees of Shs 500,000 while Medium and Large Enterprises will pay Shs 1,000,000 to be issued with a permit to use the quality mark, valid for one year (12 months). The new fees imply a reduction in certification fees by Shs 350,000 for Micro and Small Enterprises and Shs 300,000 for Medium and Large enterprises. Enterprises will continue to pay for laboratory testing fees depending on the parameters to be analysed for their individual products.
However, Enterprises involved in the manufacturing of bottled is water, alcoholic beverages (excluding wine) and carbonated & non-carbonated soft drinks will pay certification fees of Shs1,000,000 per brand because of the additional regulatory input required to monitor their safety and quality before being put on the market.
“The above intervention is aimed at promoting implementation of Quality Standards by Enterprises and help MSMEs and the Private Sector to recover from the devastating effects of COVID 19 on their businesses,” UNBS says, adding: “This is also in line with UNBS mandate to promote Buy Uganda–Build Uganda (BUBU) and enhancing competitiveness of Ugandan exports to the regional and international markets.”
The Bureau also provides Batch Certification where Enterprises pay testing fees and Shs 500,000 for the Batch Certificate (Certificate of Conformity). This is a reduction from the 600,000/= previously charged for this service.
“We also provide Pre-market Approval for products which have not yet completed the certification process where MSMEs pay testing fees and Shs 250,000 to get the Authorisation Letter, while Medium and Large Enterprises pay testing fees and Shs 500,000 for the Authorisation Letter, valid for 6 months,” the standards agency says.
It adds that the new Certification Fees structure have been highly subsidized and only consider recoverable costs in terms of man-hour input for both onsite and offsite certification processes as well as administrative overheads.
“UNBS has also extended the payment period from 7 days to 21 days from date of payment notice. However, all fees are paid to UNBS through Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) before the audit. This will allow timely issuance of permit to use UNBS Quality Mark immediately after the certification decision is made,” UNBS says.