The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa has said the decentralization of testing laboratories to the regional offices by Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) will help to reduce the cost of doing business and enhance compliance hence improvement in quality standards.
The minister made the remarks as UNBS opened its second food safety laboratory in Mbale City to provide conformity assessment and quality assurance of products manufactured in eastern Uganda.
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.
He 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.
According to David Livingstone Ebiru, the executive director of 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.
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.
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.