Market surveillance is a set of activities carried out and measures taken by UNBS to ensure that products comply with the requirements set out in relevant standards and do not endanger public health, safety or any other aspect of public interest protection. Market Surveillance activities build consumer confidence by identifying, tracking down and/or removing non-conforming goods, either before or after they are placed on the market. The market surveillance activities focus on both imported and locally manufactured products.
In Section 2, Sub Section (1) (f) of the UNBS Act, UNBS is mandated to enforce standards in protection of the public against harmful, dangerous and sub-standard products, while section 20 of the Act prohibits the manufacture, sale, distribution or holding for the purpose of selling any product that does not meet compulsory Uganda standards.
Market Surveillance is mandated to enforce the Distinctive mark regulation (Quality Mark) for all locally manufactured products covered by the compulsory standards and other relevant regulations.
Despite efforts made by UNBS, sub-standard products have continued to present a permanent threat to public health and safety. UNBS has continued to receive complaints from the public, business community and consumer organizations about sub-standard products. Some of these products are hazardous to the public and environment.
Pursuant to the above Sections, UNBS has put in place a market surveillance system to curb the proliferation of sub-standard products that can endanger public health and safety and the environment.
Market surveillance derives its mandate from the strategic objective of; Strengthening the implementation and enforcement of compulsory standards and technical regulations for enhanced protection of consumers and the environment and promotion of fair trade. Market surveillance activities are therefore crucial in the protection of the consumers from unsafe or non -compliant products.
The purpose of the UNBS market surveillance system is to ensure that illegal and unsafe products are not allowed to be put on the domestic market and that fair market conditions prevail on the domestic market. Manufacturers, importers and suppliers who follow the rules and bear the administrative costs associated with compliance to legal provisions should not be disadvantaged by those who do not comply.
Market Surveillance inspections are prompted by facts that could arise from any of the following:
Previous market surveillance schedules and/or enforcement activities;
Information provided by consumers, other enforcement agencies, volunteers or informers and consumer protection groups.
Analysis of consumer complaints as per UNBS Customer Complaints Handling Procedure;
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Market Surveillance activities are categorised into two, Reactive and Proactive market surveillance activities. The distinction between the two approaches being the way their activities are initiated.
3.1. Proactive market surveillance
Under this approach, activities are planned and could fall under the following;
3.2. Reactive Market Surveillance
Market Surveillance activities under this approach are triggered by alerts from the public and other regulation agencies. Reports about possibly dangerous or non-compliant products may come from various sources. Such may include;
All these are investigated, conclusions drawn, action taken when necessary and feedback is provided. Since such investigations are triggered by outside ‘events‘, they cannot be planned in advance.