During the 2019/20 Financial Year, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) certified 1,168 Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) with products covered by compulsory standards under the UNBS distinctive mark Regulation 2018.
This is the second year into the implementation of the UNBS Distinctive Mark 2018, Regulation. The new Regulation made it mandatory for products covered by compulsory standards to be certified and issued with a distinctive mark before they are allowed on the market.
While giving the UNBS annual performance report for the Financial Year 2019/20 on Monday, the UNBS Executive Director Ben Manyindo said that under the Regulation, the number MSMEs seeking certification has exponentially increased.
“As a result, we have witnessed an exponential increase in the number of MSMEs seeking certification. During the Financial Year 2019/20, we registered 1,168 MSMEs and visited 304 MSMEs for onsite technical assistance and gap analysis. 1,068 MSMEs visited UNBS and were provided with technical advisory services compared to 929 MSMEs in the Financial Year 2018/19, to build their capacity to apply standards and produce products that comfort to standards this contributing to the Government export promotion strategy,” said Manyindo.
153,256 inspection of products under compulsory standards were done, meeting 83% of the set target of the year. 62,551 inspections were undertaken under PVoC program, an increase of 27,000 compared to the previous year.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Manyindo also reported a significant increase in the number of companies certified to make sanitizers.
“By March 2020, only two companies had been certified to manufacturer hand sanitizers. However, with COVID-19 pandemic, the number of manufactures dramatically increased. Accordingly, by June 2020, 209 companies (with 254 brands) had been certified,” he said.
On matters non-medical face masks, UNBS developed standards for face masks and was able to certify over 40 companies to produce non-medical face masks by June 2020.
Concerning improved competitiveness of locally manufactured products to access export market, Manyindo reported that UNBS undertook product certification and management systems certification to improve the quality of locally manufactured products so that they are able to access regional and international market.
“We recorded an increase from 1,350 product certification permits in FY 2018/19 to 2,705 permits in the FY 2019/20. And 62 permits under system certification. All UNBS certified products were able to access the wider East African Community market.”
On the issue of standards development, Manyindo said that during the 2019/20 Financial Year, UNBS developed 505 new standards bringing the total number of standards for use today to 3,948.
The standards developed support key sectors of the economy and act as catalyst for economic growth.
Of the new 505 standards, 110 are in the area of food and Agriculture sector, 148 in the chemicals and consumer products, 125 for engineering and 122 for management and services.
Meanwhile, standards for major staple foods such as maize, beer, wheat, sorghum and millet were revised and updated to ensure quality and safe commodities are available for consumption.