UGANDA – As part of the Pre export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) initiative, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has outlined four paths that traders can take to clear products before they are delivered to the Ugandan market.
The routes have been given the names Route A, Route B, Route C, and Route D, according to information from the standards body.
In a recent interview with the New Vision, UNBS Executive Director David Livingstone Ebiru described the (PVoC) Program as a conformity assessment program used at the respective exporting countries to ensure the compliance of products covered by mandatory Uganda standards with the applicable Uganda standards.
He said complying goods are the only ones issued with a Certificate of Conformity (COC) that can be used as a basis of release upon arrival of the consignment in Uganda.
“All goods covered by Compulsory Uganda Standards under the Schedule of Compulsory Uganda Standards are subject to PVoC for all countries around the world,” he said.
According to Ebiru, Route A is applicable to any type of commodities and any trader/ exporter, and no prior registration is required.
“Inspection and testing are mandatory since the category of products are high-risk and compliance history of the Exporter/importer is not known or consistent,” he said.
He said that Route B, which is dependent on the supplier’s capacity to consistently achieve the quality requirements, is advised for regular exporters of homogeneous commodities.
“The exporter qualifies for registration for this route after the first three Certificates of Conformity for the same products supplied to the Ugandan Importer. It involves random inspection and testing but not each time a COC is required,” Ebiru said.
He added that the route requires a self-declaration of compliance supported by substantiated evidence of conformity and consistency (test reports, certificates, and Quality Management Certificates, among others).
“The exporter applies for registration and forwards the request to the PVoC service provider. The Service Provider reviews the request including previous compliance history. Upon compliance with the technical review, a statement of registration is issued,” he added.
Subject to continued compliance, registration for this route is renewed yearly.
The PVoC Service Provider conducts surveillance audits on the exporter twice a year and tests the goods at laboratories with ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.
“Each time the exporter needs to ship to Uganda, a request for certification shall be made to the PVoC service provider. Attachments including traceable test reports to the shipment and other quality documents shall be reviewed.
“If they comply a COC shall be issued and if they do not comply an NCR shall be issued. Issuance of CoC is based on the risk management system agreed upon by UNBS and PVoC Service Provider,” Ebiru further noted.
Route C is the one that is open for manufacturers in the country of supply that directly supply Ugandan importers. It involves consistent shipment compliance, evaluation of test reports, and additional testing to demonstrate full compliance with the Uganda Standards.
Sylvia Kirabo, the UNBS Head of Marketing and Public Relations, pointed out that the PVoC service provider conducts surveillance audits on the exporter twice yearly and also tests the goods in a laboratory certified to ISO/IEC 17025 biannually.
“Such a manufacturer qualifies for Licensing for this route after the first three COCs for the same products supplied to the Ugandan Importer and the license is annually renewable, subject to continual compliance.
“Inspection and testing are only required during licensing and surveillance audits,” she added.