UGANDA – Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) 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 Executive Director of UNBS, Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru, claims that this is a component of the Bureau’s interventions to reduce the cost of product certification as one of the steps to increase the safety and caliber of locally produced goods and their accessibility to both domestic and foreign markets.
He highlighted additional interventions taken by the Bureau to reduce the cost of doing business for the MSMEs which include 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.
Mr. Ebiru emphasized the need for a Special Fund to assist MSMEs in getting their products certified for the first year so they can achieve the minimal safety and quality criteria necessary to access the markets.
He commended the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) for taking the UNBS request into account and assisting the financially strapped MSMEs who were having trouble paying certification fees.
However, he criticized MSMEs for having a low-quality culture, particularly those engaged in informal production from unregistered venues which is to blame for the market’s high incidence of subpar goods.
In order to take advantage of the various interventions meant to help them enhance the quality of their products, he thus made a plea to firms engaged in any type of manufacturing and production to legalize their operations and run openly.
He also recommended that start-up MSMEs concentrate on the manufacture of just one product at a time to efficiently monitor their quality and minimize the expense of certification.
The UNBS Q-Mark Permits for the beneficiary enterprises have been awarded for the first year, and further renewals of these Permits are expected to be paid for.
Mr. Allan Ssendyona, the Project Manager for COVID-19’s Economic Recovery and Resilience Response Program (CERRRP), praised UNBS for making the best use of the $500,000 budget by certifying more MSMEs than had been anticipated.
He promised to provide further assistance to MSMEs that are dedicated to creating high-quality products and will make sure that their development is properly monitored.
Mr. Steven Asiimwe, the Executive Director of the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) assured the MSMEs of the emerging markets within the Region and beyond which can absorb most of the Ugandan-made products so long as they can meet the required quality and quantity.
The project is part of the UNBS’ 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.