By George Mangula and Geoffrey Serugo
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has approved 254 national standards, and another 76 have been recommended to the Minister of Trade for consideration as compulsory standards because they are of safety concerns for the consumers and environment.
Speaking at the press briefing, the UNBS Executive Director Ben Manyindo said: “A number of standards being approved are important for BUBU and support top government priorities such as Oil and Gas as well as in the area of Construction procurement, Agro inputs and Inspection of used motor vehicles.”
He added that all these initiatives are aimed at building and encouraging the consumption of local content and the capacity of local manufacturers to ensure that their products meet international standards.
Of the approved standards, 48 of them cover management; 111 cover chemicals and consumer products; 52 are for engineering and 43 are for products in the food and agriculture sectors.
UNBS is mandated to formulate national standards. Standards are developed through Technical Committees composed of experts drawn from academia, government, industry, consumer groups and civil society. Technical Committees are responsible for recommending Final Draft Uganda Standards (FDUS) to the National Standards Council (NSC) for approval and declaration as Uganda Standards.
Section 15 of the UNBS Act (Cap 327, as amended) provides that the NSC may declare standard specifications or codes of practices as national standards for use in Uganda. The NSC may also amend or revoke (withdraw) such declarations. In addition, Section 18 of the UNBS Act (Cap 327, as amended) provides that the NSC may recommend certain national standards for declaration as compulsory by the Minister responsible for trade.
The standards come at a time when Uganda is promoting locally manufactured products under the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda Policy (BUBU). Under the policy, the UNBS is supporting Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to ensure that they meet the required standards.