The Executive Director of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Ben Manyindo, has urged local manufacturers to comply with set quality standards, saying they help products remain competitive on local and foreign markets.
“Standards are important in ensuring that local products remain competitive both in the local and international markets, Dr. Manyindo said adding that quality products promote both local and international trade thereby contributing to economic growth.
He made the remarks Thursday during the UNBS Awards Gala Dinner hosted to recognise local businesses that have demonstrated compliance to the rigorous certification scheme. The event saw companies like Movit products, Britannia Allied Industries, Regal Paints and Harris International among others, win top awards.
Dr. Manyindo said UNBS has now a full-fledged division to help small and medium enterprises to acquire a certification mark. He added that the agency was finalizing plans to have all industries acquire the quality mark (Q-mark) before they can supply products on the market.
In effort to take services nearer to the people, Dr. Manyindo said UNBS will next year decentralize certification of products starting with Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara districts which he added would help ease the cost of doing business. “This will inform the rollout plan for other countries in the country,” he said.
Dr James Ssemwanga, the Chairman of the National Standards Council urged local manufacturers to seek services of UNBS to build capacity in far as quality standards are concerned.
He urged industrialists to set up factories in rural areas, saying they will help curb rural urban migration but also lead to the development of the areas. He said that with such development in rural areas, it will be ease for government to extend electricity and water systems there.
Gideon Badagawa, the Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation (PSF) urged government to ensure that local industries are protected from the influx of goods that can be produced locally especially that now there is the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy.
“BUBU Policy is a magic bullet that must be triggered to improve capacity, employ, increase output and save scarce foreign exchange,” he said, adding that Ugandans should consume local products to create employment. “When Ugandans consume foreign products, we are donating jobs to elsewhere,” Mr. Badagawa said.
He urged local industries to comply with standards in order to be relevant in both local and international markets
The Quality Awards come at time the when the country is promoting locally manufactured products under the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda (BUBU) campaign. Under the campaign, the UNBS is supporting SMEs to ensure that they meet the required standards.
Last financial year, UNBS scaled up its certification activities by issuing 899 certification permits mainly to support SMEs to gain access to regional and international markets.
The companies identified through the Product Quality Certification Scheme are required to have quality goods in terms of customer safety and also capability of accessing the lucrative regional and international markets.
To attain certification companies have to apply to UNBS to be audited based on standards applicable to the product. During auditing, samples of the products are taken for testing in UNBS laboratories. Companies whose products conform to the required quality are awarded the UNBS quality mark.