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UNBS hosts EAC member states to harmonise standards for trucks transporting goods

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Simon Kabayo
Simon Kabayohttps://eagle.co.ug
Reporter whose work is detailed

Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is hosting Partner States from the East African Community (EAC) to develop harmonized procedures for calibration and verification of road tankers, to facilitate trade. This is in line with the UNBS mandate of ensuring fairness in trade and precision in industry through reliable measurement systems.

Road tankers are vehicles with mounted measures of capacity used for the transportation of liquids for purposes of trade. These tankers are very critical in the intra-EAC trade because they are used to transport and distribute various commodities like petroleum products, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), raw materials for soap and cooking oil production.

However, each EAC partner state legislates its own regulations and procedures for the calibration and verification of road tankers, resulting in measurement variations, which may constitute unnecessary technical barriers to trade when the measurements in question traverse the different partner states.

“We need to eliminate irregularities and inconsistencies during inspections at the borders to facilitate smooth flow of goods within the EAC region which boosts trade,” said Eng. John Paul Musimami, the UNBS Deputy Executive Director in charge of Compliance.

Some of the issues reported include;

Variations in the limits of error (Minimum Permissible Errors) during verification, for example, the limit of error in Uganda is + or -0.25% for both initial and subsequent verification while the limit of error for Tanzania is + or – 0.2% for initial verification and + or – 0.5 for subsequent verification.

Inconsistency in respect to stamping dipsticks and verification charts  

High chances of foul play by transporters during the delivery process such as swapping and cutting of dipsticks, alteration of calibration charts which affects the measurement accuracy, and more.

Based on the above inconsistencies, representatives from seven EAC partner States: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, led by the EAC Secretariat, have converged at the Standards House in Kampala, for a week-long meeting starting 15th April 2024, to harmonise procedures for calibration and verification of road tankers, to ensure consistent measurements within the EAC region. The development is aimed at facilitating intra-EAC trade of goods transported using road tankers.

“As we harmonise these procedures, the law should guide us. We have to abide by the laws in the different member states and also close the gaps used to commit malpractices that negatively affect trade.” Said Ms Stella Apolot, the Principal Standards Officer at the EAC Secretariat.

The Member states thus agreed to harmonise procedures for stamping of the measures (Dipstick Stamping and Name Plate Stamping), treatments of boosters and airbags, Calibration Charts information, Verification provers and Limits of error (Minimum Permissible Errors) for initial and subsequent verification of road tankers, among others. 

Besides developing a draft EAC procedure for calibration and verification of road tankers, the annual EAC Metrology Committee Meeting will also be held to review and develop the East African Metrology work plan for Financial Year 2024/2025.

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