Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) plans to open up more up country offices to ensure that the general public gets access to their services.
The agency’s Executive Director Ben Manyindo said the demand for their services across the country has gone up due to the increasing number of Small and Medium Enterprises which are engaging in the manufacture of goods in the country.
“We are planning to expand our visibility in the country by opening up more offices especially at the border entry points and other towns. This will help in mitigating the inflow of substandard products on the market and also enable the general public easily get standards for their locally produced products,” Manyindo said on Tuesday as UNBS was launched celebrations to mark 30 years in operation.
The border points where the new offices will be opened include Elegu (Uganda and Southern Sudan), Mirama Hills (Uganda and Rwanda) Mpondwe (Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo) among other border entries.
Apart from the border entries, UNBS will also open up offices in major towns in the country where their services are highly demanded.
To ensure that the general public gets access to quality services from UNBS, Mayindo said UNBS is constructing modern laboratories that will enable the agency test product samples especially those that fall in the food and agriculture sector.
“As a bureau, we are committed to offer quality services to the general public government has respondent to our outcry to increase the financial resources we shall use part of the funds to recruit more technical staff and also invest in the development of Infrastructures both at the Bureau headquarters and up country to easy the testing of samples,” he explained.
Information available at the bureaus indicates that Government in the financial year 2019/2020 has increased the budget allocation for UNBS from UGX47 billion to UGX 70 Billion.
Speaking at the occasion, Minister of Trade Industries and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde applauded UNBS for delivering quality services. This, she said, has enabled Uganda to increase her export volumes both in the East African region and in Asia.
However, she advised the bureau to bring on board the private sector in issuing out standards.
“Private sector should also be allowed to venture into issuing out standards like in other countries across the world. UNBS should remain with the mandate of supervising these entities; that is when Uganda will have access to services in shorter period of time,” she said.
UNBS was established by an Act of Parliament in 1986 and it began operations in 1989.
Currently, the agency has registered big achievements in developing standards especially in the areas of food and Agriculture, consumer goods, chemicals, oil and gas alongside engineering and medical devices.
According to Manyindo, the bureau has developed over 3600 standards as of March 2019; the number of products and companies that are getting their products certified services has also gone up with many exporting their products with in the region.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO