UGANDA – The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), has echoed the need for manufacturers to get their products certified and warned those engaging in illegal certification processes.

The Public Relations Officer at UNBS, Victoria Namutebi, informed that people planning on manufacturing products should seek the bureau’s services for technical guidance before large scale production is commenced.

“For those who are out there and they have not certified their products but are already manufacturing, you are also welcome to apply for certification,” she said.

She enlightened that there are mandatory standards particularly for products that are not to be permitted on the market without the Q-mark, such as foods and beverages.

She also sounded a warning against illegal product certification saying that people must know that the illegal way is expensive as UNBS has a surveillance team that goes out to the field to look out for unidentified products.

“Once you are found producing uncertified products, you will be required to not only incur the costs of certification but also the penalty costs of manufacturing minus the Q-mark,” she said.

UNBS Senior Certification Officer, Daniel Atugonza highlighted that manufacturers need to have the certification mark so as to penetrate both the local and international market. The product certification permit is valid for a period of one year.

“This means that you can’t manufacture a product and put it on the market without it being certified first or without it going through conformity assessment. By conformity assessment, we mean that your processes have been verified to be consistent enough to continuously produce a quality product. It also implies that your products in the market have been sampled and tested and they meet the requirements of the different applicable standards,” he explained.

According to Chimp Reports, he also said that there are signed protocols at the East African Community (EAC) that enable a product certified in Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, to easily cross the border without any hindrances apart from tax payment.

Atugonza told the manufacturers that UNBS conducts a continuous product evaluation following the initial verification. Businesses are given a 6-month leeway before the regulatory body drops in unannounced to conduct a surveillance audit.

He stated that this is to affirm that the processes are still being managed as they previously were at the time of the grant of the permit.

From time to time, UNBS deploys market surveillance teams to sample products and bring them for testing to enable an informed decision-making in regards to certification.