Standards watchdog plans quick clearances for industrial inputs
July 7—Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has said this financial year, it wants to clear/certify imported industrial inputs in one day instead of the prevailing average of five days to help ease constraints in local production.
The Bureau said priorities for this financial year which began this month, include preferential and quick clearance of industrial inputs, industrial machinery, spare parts and raw materials and improving consumption of locally produced goods by increasing UNBS certified goods on the market.
It also plans to verify at least 70,000 electricity meters; focus on the inspections of electrical appliances, cosmetics, agricultural inputs and pneumatic tyres through market surveillance and increase tagging of goods under mandatory standards from the current 340 to 800.
UNBS also intends to reduce the turnaround time for the verification fuel road tankers; increase enforcement of the mandatory standards; acquire a digital rig to intervene in the verification of milk tankers, railway wagons and underground tanks.
Meanwhile, UNBS confiscated substandard goods from all over the country worth UGX6 billion (just over $1.6 million) during the last financial year ending June 30, 2017. However UNBS officials conceded the counterfeit segment of trade has grown, generating huge incomes for the perpetrators at the expense of gullible consumers, authentic manufacturers and the economy at large.
Addressing a news conference, John Paul Musimami, the UNBS Deputy Executive Director in-charge of Compliance said items included electrical appliances, cosmetics, agricultural inputs, secondhand undergarments, foodstuffs and steel products. All did not meet the relevant standards.
‘’We inspected over 1,000 business centres countrywide and made 183 seizures. Ten culprits were convicted and over 60 cases are being investigated,” Musimani said
He said; “With the launch of the Utilities and Standards Court, delays in case-hearing will no longer be heard off.”
He said the economy loses potential employment opportunities as genuine manufacturers and employers of labour are hindered, because of these illegal activities.
Investors are discouraged which hurts the government’s efforts at encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI).
UNBS denied entry to over 6,000 potentially harmful products. The Bureau said a total worth of UGX 595,384,000 were rejected and destroyed by the Imports Inspection team during the same financial year.
UNBS is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and it is responsible for matters of Standardization, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing.