The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) stopped 16 million substandard products from being imported into the country as a measure to protect the health and safety of consumers.
Between July and December 2017, under the Pre-export verification of conformity (PVoC), UNBS inspected 4.6 billion products of which 4.2 billion products passed while 16 million products failed.
In addition, UNBS seized about 232 metric tonnes of substandard goods worth Shs1.7 billion from the local market. The goods seized included steel bars, iron sheets, assorted food stuffs, energy savers, extension cables, cosmetics, agro-inputs, sweets, cooking oil, second hand tyres, beers, paint, and maize flour, among others.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the Bureau’s half year performance on Wednesday, the UNBS Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo said: “The seized goods would have otherwise been detrimental to the health and safety of consumers.”
“We received 100% funding of the Shs20 billion budget which enabled us meet and surpass most of our targets in enforcing standards to protect consumer health and safety and the environment against dangerous and sub-standard products,” he added.
UNBS also automated its imports clearance processes to facilitate faster clearance of goods which improved the turnaround time from 11 days to 5 days. “We hope to further reduce the turnaround time by facilitating pre-arrival clearance of inspected goods with data from Pre-export verification of conformity (PVoC) service providers,” Dr. Manyindo said.
UNBS developed 254 standards mainly to support the implementation of the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda (BUBU) Policy for enabling Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to develop competitive products.
“UNBS continued to focus on developing standards that contribute to the competitiveness of local industries and supporting the economic development of our country through support for growth of exports,” Dr. Manyindo said.
In addition to standards developed, 467 certification permits were issued to enhance the quality and competitiveness of locally manufactured products.
UNBS also verified 6,500 electricity meters.
About 6,000 failed verification and corrective measures were recommended.
“Without our intervention, 6,000 electricity meters would have been in the market giving wrong measurements to the detriment of the consumers,” Dr. Manyindo said.