How UNBS reduced the cost of doing business in Uganda for the Year 2019.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) celebrated 30 years of service delivery this 2019, to the business community and consumers in Uganda.
The Ugandan Standards body, that has been inexorable when it comes to cracking the wipe against errant businesses and businessperson dealing in sub-standard consumer products in Uganda, has been seen as one of the major contributors in reducing costs of doing business for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and in supporting the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy.
The standards body welcomed the long-awaited news of additional funding, for staff recruitment and development of quality infrastructure to strengthen its mandate, as announced by State Minister for Trade, Hon. Michael Werikhe.
What is UNBS all about?
Headed by Executive Director Dr. Ben Manyindo UNBS is a government agency under the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives. The body that is located Plot 2 – 12, Bypass Link, Industrial & Business Park, Kyaliwajala Road, is charged with the
- Formulation and promotion of the use of standards;
- Enforcing standards in the protection of public health and safety and the environment against dangerous and sub-standard products;
- Ensuring fairness in trade and precision in the industry through reliable measurement systems; and
- Strengthening the economy of Uganda by assuring the quality of locally manufactured products to enhance the competitiveness of exports in regional and international markets.
Over the 30 years, the standards body has achieved various milestones that indeed, have facilitated trade and reduced the cost of doing business in Uganda.
The UNBS acquired its own offices in 2016, located at Bweyogerere, Kampala, great achievement, a cost reduction strategy and a great concern for many government agencies, which hampers the execution of their duties.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards opened state of art food safety laboratories on 18th December 2019, this is hope to enhance the safety and quality of food through testing of foods/food products for adulterants/contaminants and for assessment of product quality and nutritive value.
At the event, Hon Michael Werikhe said, “The impact of unsafe products and services globally is very grave and has severe implications on the health, safety and livelihood of the people. Trade has become much more globalized as well as movement of goods which has increased risk of unsafe products, trade disputes and product recall,”
Executive Director, Dr. Manyindo revealed that the UNBS laboratories are now internationally accredited, saying that “Our labs now act as centers of excellence in training other laboratory practitioners from industry and other government institutions both from Uganda, the EAC region, and many African countries,”
The construction of these laboratories means the turnaround time in the laboratories, will further facilitate trade, as well as increase revenue growth that will lead to further development of the country.
Business brands like Kaziire Drinks, Bessa Drinks, Numa Flour Products, Banana Font Packaged Natural Mineral Water, YILDI Lemon Grass Flavoured Black Tea, and Denovo Bread among others, were recognized for their consistency in implementing standards and having their products certified.
On the 28th of November 2019, UNBS launched an online verification Platform of weighing Equipment ‘Minzani’. While launching the E-Minzani Platform, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon Amelia Kyambadde, said, “e-Minzani service is in line with the electronic government (e-government) strategy of using technology to improve and transform service delivery”.
It comes with an electronic payment avenue, which will make payment for UNBS services easier and will, in turn, reduce the cost of doing business. Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo said: “The UNBS eMinzani system has replaced the manual systems of record-keeping, payment and verification. This will go a long way in improving efficiency, transparency, and accountability in our systems and processes.”
27th November 2019, UNBS revised procedures to ensure the faster clearance of imported goods. This was perhaps the greatest news for the business community in Uganda and also exporters to Uganda. This meant that Importers whose goods have been inspected in the country of origin are now assured of faster clearance, following the revision of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) Imports Clearance Procedures.
Under the new procedures, all goods with valid Certificates of Conformity (CoCs) for general goods and Certificate of Road Worthiness (CRW) for motor vehicles will be cleared automatically without subjecting them to further assessment from UNBS Inspectors. Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo, said, “The new procedures have been designed as trade facilitation measure to guarantee faster clearance of goods that comply with the requirements of Imports Inspection and Clearance Regulation, 2018.”
The new clearance procedure was a result of integrating data generated by UNBS appointed PVoC Service providers from all over the world with the National Electronic Single Window (ESW) and ACYUDA World. The development of an integrated system was supported by Trade Mark East Africa.
23rd September 2019, UNBS acquired Shs235m equipment to test the composition of steel products. The Optical Emission Spectrometer (OES), a machine used to test the chemical composition of steel and aluminum metal products, is able to determine the number of chemical elements as well as trace metals in steel and aluminum products.
“The machine acquisition is a great step in the fight against poor quality steel products on the market. It will further enhance our capacity to test comprehensively all parameters as prescribed in the standard to ensure good quality products on the market,” the UNBS Executive Director Dr. Ben Manyindo said.
12th June 2019, UNBS celebrated its accreditation with the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) to offer International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) Management Systems Certification. The SANAS accreditation means that UNBS is now internationally recognized to provide certification services to organizations for Food Safety Management Systems (ISO 22000) and Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001).
The Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, noted that the UNBS accreditation is important to Uganda because it will enable local companies to get certified to international standards which will allow them access to international markets. “One of the Policy Objectives in the National Standards and Quality Policy Implementation Plan is to support the Private Sector especially MSMEs to conform to set standards and to comply with technical regulations,” Hon. Kyambadde said.
Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo said: “The accreditation means that UNBS has been accepted and recognized at an international level to offer ISO management systems certification in a competent, consistent and impartial manner.”
“This accreditation will give Ugandan companies an opportunity to certify their organizational systems and processes at an affordable cost to demonstrate that their services meet international standards and therefore capable of meeting customer expectations,” Dr. Manyindo said.
Cracking the Wipe
#UNBSAtWorkDestruction of Substandard products from imports inspection.The substandard products include Electricals and electrical products, chemical products and consumables, textile and mechanical materials.#QualityEverywhere
Geplaatst door Uganda National Bureau of Standards op Vrijdag 20 december 2019
On 7th November 2019, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) suspended the importation, sale, and distribution 7 peanut butter branded products from Kenya. This was after Laboratory Tests carried out by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) confirmed high levels of aflatoxin contamination, a poisonous cancer-causing compound. The peanut butter products are:
|1||Nuteez||Jetlak Foods Limited|
|3||Nutty by Nature||Target Distributors|
|4||True nuts||Truenutz Kenya|
|5||Supa Meal||Supacosm Products Limited|
|6||Sue’s Naturals||Nature’s Way Health|
|7||Fressy||Fressy Food Company Limited|
10th October 2019, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) handed over 1,100 cartons (2,640,000mls) of alcohol packed in sachets and bottles less than 200mls to UNBS for legal action,
in the operation, 980 cartons of Black Eagle Premium Gin were impounded by URA at Karuma, while 120 cartons of Cheers Vodka sachets and Habari Waragi were impounded in Busia, en route Kenya, following a tip-off from whistle blowers.
The trader had concealed the 100mls alcohol bottles in boxes labeled 200mls, it was also discovered that alcohol manufactured by the various industries had the UNBS quality mark despite having not been certified. The products were also found not having batch numbers and date of manufacture. This followed a 2017 government directive banning consumption and sale of alcohol in sachets and bottles less than 200mls.
In Kampala, 3rd October 2019, The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and, Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives over 400 liters of alcohol packed in bottles less than 200mls, worth 7.4 million shillings in the Kampala City Centre.
Alcohol brands like Lords Blended Malt Whiskey, Royal Circle Whiskey, Legend Whiskey, Mr. Doweel’s, Blue Skyz Vodka, Uganda Waragi, Bond 7, Beckam gin, Herdsman blended Whisky, Red Sorghum Whiskey and Twebeleremu Extra gin, packed in 180mls and 100mls bottles were impounded from Divine Traders, Mwebale enterprises and Felix enterprises among others.
25th September 2019, The Standards and Utilities Division of the High Court convicted City Businessman, Drake Francis Lubega, owner of Jesco Industries Limited, for manufacturing plastic bags commonly known Kaveera that did not meet standards. He was also found guilty for illegally placing the UNBS Distinctive Mark on 47 cartons of plastic packing bags to create a wrong impression that the products met standards.
19th August 2019, UNBS Destroyed Substandard Goods worth shs. 300M at Luweero Industries in Nakasongola.
The goods destroyed included: non-complying building materials (cement); farm implements (pangas); Chemical and consumable products (cosmetics, mattresses, etc.); assorted electricals; food and food products; assorted paper products; tyres, and assorted textiles among others. Building materials and farm implements registered the highest number of non-compliance to standards contributing 57% followed by assorted electrical at 22% and chemical/consumable products at 11%.
The destruction of products followed a country wide seizures of non-conforming products carried out by the UNBS import inspection department in the financial year 2018/19.
8th August 2019, UNBS closed factories producing polythene bags below 30 microns, as a measure to enforce a government ban on polythene bags below 30 microns. The factories included Jesco Plastics Limited, Teefe plastics in Kawempe – Tula, Moon plastics limited along Bombo road in Kawempe and Earth Quec Enterprises Limited.
24th July 2019, UNBS closed over 160 sachet-filling machines from over 30 Companies, the operation was conducted in Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja, and Mityana. Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo, said then that: “We are aware that by time we sealed off the machines some of the alcohol in sachets had already found its way on the market. Our market surveillance team will soon carry out raids on wholesale and retail outlets that could still be selling sachets. We are committed to enforcing standards to protect the health and safety of consumers.”
16th March 2019, UNBS closed Halal & Twayibah Foods & Beverages factory over failure to comply with set standards for the production of beverages thus putting the health of consumers at great risk. The factory was found in the production of pre-packaged drinking water of Halal brand in an unhygienic environment. The workers were found handling water with bare hands and with no safety gear which is a contravention of the Uganda Standard US 28 EAS 39:2002 – Code of practice for hygiene in the Food & Drinks Manufacturing Industry.