UNBS grants certification to over 500 MSMEs in an attempt to promote export trade
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa, while officiating at the quality certification handover function, assured the government's efforts to find ready markets for Uganda's products.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), with support from the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU), has granted free product certification (Q- Mark) to over 500 Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that are producing over 700 products across various sectors.
The free certification grant to the enterprises was part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Resilience Response Program (CERRRP) funded by the MasterCard Foundation under the Quality and Standards Component at the cost of USD 500,000.
David Livingstone Ebiru, the Executive Director of UNBS, said this is part of the Bureau’s interventions to subsidize the cost of product certification as one of the measures to improve the safety and quality of locally manufactured products and increase their access to both domestic and international markets.
“We have done additional interventions as the Bureau to reduce the cost of doing business for the MSMEs which included automation and online access of UNBS services and decentralization of Testing Laboratories and other Conformity Assessment Services to the Regional Offices of Mbale, Gulu and Mbarara,” he said.
Ebiru reiterated the need for a Special Fund to support MSMEs to certify their products for the initial year so that they can meet the minimum safety and quality standards required to access the Markets.
Additionally, he applauded the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) for considering UNBS’ request to help the financially constrained MSMEs who were facing challenges with the payment of certification charges.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa, while officiating at the quality certification handover function, assured the government’s efforts to find ready markets for Uganda’s products. He emphasized the need to produce safe and quality goods.
“I appreciate the intervention of improving the quality of locally made products so that they can be competitive on the market, especially for Export Markets. As a government we pledge continued support to the Private Sector, who are key Partners in contributing to economic development and transformation of the Country,” he noted.
The Project Manager for the COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Resilience Response Program (CERRRP) Allan Ssenyondwa, thanked UNBS for optimizing the use of the $500,000 fund to certify more MSMEs.
He pledged additional support to MSMEs who are committed to producing quality products and will ensure their progress is closely monitored.
Meanwhile, Charles Musekuura, the Chairperson of the UNBS National Standards Council (NSC), committed to ensuring that the costs of product certification are affordable to promote the quality culture among manufacturers, as they are expected to voluntarily comply with the standards to reduce the cost of enforcement by UNBS.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is a government agency responsible for the Developing, Promotion and Enforcement of National Standards to protect the Health and Safety of the Public and the Environment against Harmful and Sub-Standard Products; as well as Promoting Fair Trade Practices and Competition.