UGANDA – Ugandan enterprises can now breathe a sigh of relief as the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has phased out some of the charges which were previously being levied on initial and surveillance audit fees for acquisition of the Quality Mark (Q-Mark).

A number of products on Ugandan market are not certified due to high cost of acquiring the Q-Mark which was made compulsory for all products that fall under mandatory certification in 2018.

UNBS has in a statement informed that, Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) will now only pay certification fees of Shs 500,000 (US$ 140.71) while Medium and Large Enterprises will pay Shs 1,000,000 (US$ 281.42) to be issued with a permit to use the quality mark, valid for one year (12 months).

The new fees imply a reduction in certification fees by Shs 350,000 (US$ 98.50) for Micro and Small Enterprises and Shs 300,000 (US$ 84.43) for Medium and Large enterprises.

Enterprises will continue to pay for laboratory testing fees depending on the parameters to be analyzed for their individual products.

However, Enterprises involved in the manufacturing of bottled water, alcoholic beverage with the exception of wine and carbonated & non-carbonated soft drinks will pay certification fees of Shs1,000,000 per brand, owing to the additional regulatory input required to monitor their safety and quality before being put on the market.

“The above intervention is aimed at promoting implementation of Quality Standards by Enterprises and help MSMEs and the Private Sector to recover from the devastating effects of COVID 19 on their businesses,

“This is also in line with UNBS mandate to promote Buy Uganda–Build Uganda (BUBU) and enhancing competitiveness of Ugandan exports to the regional and international markets, says UNBS.

The Bureau also provides Batch Certification where enterprises pay testing fees and now Shs 500,000 for the Batch Certificate (Certificate of Conformity), as opposed to the previous Shs 600,000 (US$ 168.85).

The bureau also provides Pre-market Approval for products yet to finalize the certification process where MSMEs pay testing fees and Shs 250,000 (US$ 70.36) to get the Authorization Letter, while Medium and Large Enterprises part with Shs 500,000, valid for 6 months.

It adds that the new Certification Fees structure have been highly subsidized and only consider recoverable costs in terms of man-hour input for both onsite and offsite certification processes as well as administrative overheads.

UNBS has also extended the payment period from 7 to 21 days from date of payment notice.

However, all fees will be paid to UNBS through Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) before the audit. This will allow timely issuance of permit to use UNBS Quality Mark immediately after the certification decision is made.