Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has opened its 2nd Food Safety Laboratory in Mbale City to provide Conformity Assessment and Quality Assurance of products manufactured in Eastern Uganda.
According to Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru, the Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), this is part of the Bureau’s Strategic Plan to decentralize Quality Infrastructure and other Standardization Services to other parts of the Country.
Similar Testing Laboratories were commissioned in Gulu City in July, 2022, to serve Northern Uganda, with the next one planned for Western Region in the near future. He thanked Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) and the Danish Government for providing the critical equipment worth USD 4,455,283 for UNBS Regional Testing Laboratories and promised to put them to optimum use.
Mr. Ebiru urged all Enterprises involved in any form of Production, Processing and Value Addition to take advantage of the decentralized Quality Infrastructure to enhance the quality and safety of their products by seeking certification services (Q-Mark) from UNBS before putting them on the market.
He informed those involved in Export Trade that the Bureau is currently spearheading harmonization of common Standards within the East African Community (EAC) and African Continent in order to facilitate market access of Ugandan made products to the East African Community (EAC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He also urged the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to seek certification services from the Bureau if their businesses are to remain competitive and sustainable.
Mr. Charles Musekuura, the Chairperson of the National Standards Council pledged to continue with the Bureau’s Agenda of taking Standardization services to every Region in order to reduce the cost of doing business and support production, trade and consumption of quality products across the country.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa welcomed the Bureau’s initiative of taking its services nearer to the people despite the constraints in resources and pledged his support to complement the effort. He noted that Quality Standards are critical in supporting the Government’s Industrialization Agenda, the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) Policy, Imports Substitution and Export Promotion Strategies and urged all Enterprises engaged in any form of production, value addition and trade to embrace quality standards by dealing in quality and safe products in order to protect public health and safety.
Mr. Mwebesa observed that, with the decentralization of Testing Laboratories to the Regional Offices, accessibility to UNBS services will be enhanced, the cost of doing business reduced and overall level of compliance to quality standards should improve.
The Deputy Danish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Henrik Jespersen, thanked the Bureau for putting the support extended to the best use and hoped that this will significantly contribute to the safety and quality of Ugandan made products on the market, as well as support other Government Programs such as Agro-Industrialization, Manufacturing and Private Sector Development which are critical for the country’s Economic Transformation.
He urged UNBS to prioritize vulnerable Enterprises, especially MSMEs which are owned by Women and Youth in order to empower them to produce safe and quality products which are competitive on the market for their livelihoods. She tasked the Enterprises to take advantage of the decentralized Testing Facility to improve the quality of their products in order to benefit from the Regional and Continental Markets such as EAC and AfCFTA, including exports to other International Markets like the European Union (EU).
The Trademark East Africa (TMEA) Senior Director for the East and Central Region, Mr. John Ulanga thanked UNBS for being a dependable and trusted partner in facilitating trade and investments by putting the support so far given to the best use and for the intended purpose. She pledged to continue supporting UNBS in its effort towards making standardization services cheaper and easily accessible to the public through decentralization.
The Regional Laboratories will be testing a wide range of products, both food and non-food items such as edible fats and oils, milk and milk products, water, fruits and vegetables, cereals and cereal products, grains and animal products, among others.