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Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru

Ag. Executive Director

UNBS Performance highlights for Financial Year 2017/18

Performance highlights for Financial Year 2017/18

  • I would like to welcome you to today’s press conference to report on UNBS’ performance for the FY 2017-18. This is part of the accountability of public funds and transparency in the overall service delivery of government to the people of Uganda.
  • The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) mandate is developing, promoting and enforcing standards and quality of products and services to facilitate fair trade, promote local industries and protect consumers.
  • During FY 2017/18, the Bureau received UGX 38.5 billion which was allocated to implement a number of activities under its approved annual work plan. Overall, the performance was very good. The institution achieved all its targets at 100% and exceeded its Non Tax revenue collections by UGX 1.7 billion despite a shortfall from the government grants of UGX 1.488 billion. At the close of the year, the staff levels were 290 of which 26% are women. This however represents 45% of the required 640 staff and forms the number one challenge for scaling up service delivery to Ugandans.
  • I would like to appreciate my staff and colleagues who worked hard to produce good results and our partners and stakeholders including the media that have supported UNBS in posting these results as detailed below.

Standards Development

  • The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) developed a total of 254 standards as national standards in December 2017. Out of 254 standards, 76 standards are compulsory standards because they are concerned with safety of consumers and the environment. Of the approved standards, 43 were for Food and Agriculture, 48 of them cover Management and Services, 111 standards cover chemicals and consumer products, while 52 are in engineering sector.
  • Generally the standards developed in the FY 2017/18 contribute to government efforts to promote locally manufactured products under the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda (BUBU) policy especially with standards for school clothing wear and furniture such as wooden door shutters and dining tables.
  • The standards developed also support the nascent Oil and Gas sector with standards such as methods of test for crude oil, volumetric metering of viscous hydrocarbons and gas cylinders. Standards in the electro technology sector were also developed such as for LED lamps and electricity metering payment systems.
  • During the period, standards for maize grain, maize flour, wheat flour, milled rice and dry beans were developed which are important staple foods in the country and contribute to food security, value addition and income generation for small holder farmers. Standards for fertilizers have also been developed to contribute to increasing agricultural production in the country.
  • A standard for green coffee beans was also developed which directly contributes to the achievement of the target by Government to produce 20 million 60Kg bags of coffee by 2020.
  • standards for farm tools and implements such as spades, hoes and machetes have been developed to curb the rampant sub-standard tools in the market. A new standard for testing the roadworthiness of used imported vehicles will ensure that the safety of motorists is guaranteed.
  • Standards for building materials such as cement and building lime have also been reviewed to support the infrastructure projects being undertaken by the Government.
  • Standards promotion, implementation and uptake

Product/Systems Certification

  • 849 products and systems permits were granted against the set target of 820 most targeting Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs). To date 353 companies with 1,150 permits are on the UNBS certification scheme. Of these 92% are run by men, 6% by women and 2% by the youth. Further to this, out of the 1150 permits, 888 are from central region, 122 from east, 17 from the north and 19 are offshore permits.
  • The product certification which has hitherto been voluntary will beginning with the FY 2018/19 become compulsory or mandatory and it will transform to UNBS distinctive mark.

Mandatory Certification

  • As part of our efforts to promote competitiveness on the local products in regional and international markets and support the BUBU Policy but also to safeguard public health, safety, and the environment from products that do not meet the standards, UNBS has come up with a new regulation: “Use Distinctive Mark Regulations, 2018”
  • Under the new regulation, all products covered by compulsory standards must be certified with the UNBS Distinctive Mark (Q-Mark) before they are allowed on the market.
  • Previously, certification of products was done on voluntary basis; however with the coming into force of the new regulations, all affected products are expected to comply.
  • Implementation will be undertaken on a sector by sector basis focusing initially on priority sectors based on risk to consumers and potential for economic impact starting with juices and beverages, cosmetics, steel products and cement, confectionaries (bread and biscuits), apiary and mattresses, among others.
  • Details of the new regulation can be accessed from our website:

Decentralisation of UNBS Services

  • In our effort to bring services closer to people, UNBS decentralised its services of Certification and Market Surveillance to regional offices in Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara effective July 2018.
  • This will further promote production of good quality products by Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) at regional level thereby contributing to the government’s effort of promoting industrialisation of our economy while we continue to protect consumers and the environment from dangerous substandard products.

Laboratory Testing

  • One of the challenges UNBS has is the large volume of samples to be tested in the laboratories. As a result the turnaround time has been a major concern of our clients. UNBS has opened up this testing function to other government and private laboratories that have been assessed and recognized by UNBS. To date, 8 laboratories are assisting UNBS in undertaking laboratory analysis wit heir results being recognized and used by UNBS. These include among others: UIRI, GAL, Chemiphar etc.
  • Under laboratory testing function, 14,472 samples were tested against the set target of 11,000 product samples. The Bureau also embarked on testing of energy meters to provide quality assurance in the sector.

Legal Metrology

  • Verification of Weights and Measures. Under this function it was planned to verify 595,348 equipment used in trade but verified 848,456 equipment.
  • A total of 23,624 electricity meters were verified to ascertain their accuracy of measurement before they were cleared to be installed on to the distribution network.
  • Of these 3,812 energy meters were tested in the period January –June 2018. The number of failed meters were 1,389 representing 28%. There is a general improvement in the compliance level as compared to the previous period of June – December 2017. In addition, field verification of energy meters started inn June 2018, as a pilot in areas of Banda, Nankulabye and Natete. A total of 437 meters were inspected and 36 meters were found non-compliant.

Prevalence of substandard products on the market.

  • One of the challenges UNBS is still grappling with is the high level of substandard goods on the market. To understand this better, UNBS commissioned a study in 2017 to assess the extent and prevalence of substandard products on the market.
  • The findings, though not rosy, point to our growing contribution to reducing the number of substandard products on the market.
  • From the study it was established that a cross section of products on the Uganda market both imported and domestically manufactured are substandard. On average, 54% of the sampled products failed tests for compliance to Uganda Standards.
  • While we note that the proportion of substandard products on the market is quite significant, it has reduced from 73% reported in a baseline study done in 2013.
  • Although the actual prevalence is at 54%, the perception level has remained high at 80%. This is an area that requires a concerted effort in being addressed.
  • The lower prices charged for the substandard products is the main reason some people knowingly buy such products considering that prices of some genuine products are prohibitively high.
  • As UNBS, we shall invest in a mass sensitisation campaigns to empower with knowledge to identify substandard product and subsequently shun them.

Market Surveillance:

  • 2,278 outlets were inspected against the set target of 2,000.
  • The UNBS market surveillance team seized 413 metric tonnes of goods worth Shs3.5 billion. The seized goods would have otherwise been detrimental to the health and safety of consumers.
  • The goods seized included electronics, cosmetics, steel products, iron sheets, food stuffs, toilet papers, agro-inputs, cooking oil, second hand tyres, beers, paints, and cereals, among others.
  • 15 cases were taken to court and UNBS secured conviction of 7 cases while 8 are on-going.

Imports Inspection

  • Under Imports Inspection function, 133,517 consignments were inspected against planned inspection of 120,000. The increase was largely due to increased compliance to the PVOC program that requires imports to be inspected from their countries of export before entering Uganda.
  • This translates to 8.6 billion products that were inspected out of which 33 million products failed. As a result of UNBS intervention under the PVoC program, we were able to stop 33 million substandard products from being imported into the country.

Standards Awareness and Information dissemination

  • Public awareness and consumer education. The Bureau continued to engage with stakeholders to create awareness and increase compliance with quality and safety standards.
  • UNBS realised 479 media stories in print, radio, TV and online against a target of 212 stories. In addition, we participated in 408 radio talk shows, 25 TV talk shows. Majority of the talk shows were free government airtime.

Priorities for FY 2018/19

  • Engaging government to increase funding to UNBS and especially increasing the manpower which is currently at 45% of the required number to scale up standards uptake and enforcement.
  • Implementation of new regulations on mandatory certification and support to MSME development geared at operationalising Buy Uganda Build Uganda policy, job creation and exports.
  • Raising awareness among consumers to promote use standards and compliance to regulations to ensure quality goods on the market thus promoting consumer safety and fair trade.
  • Leveraging on ICT and partnerships in meeting our set targets of FY 2018/19 which have been increased substantially to ensure quality service delivery to Ugandans.


  • The FY 2017-18 was a challenging but exciting year for the Bureau with new challenges and stretched human resource to deliver the required services to Ugandans.
  • Despite the achievements so far registered, there is a lot more that UNBS requires to do especially in the area of standards enforcement.
  • I would like to thank the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives for the guidance and support given to UNBS. The various MDAs that we have worked closely with to ensure service delivery and my staff for the work well done.
  • The media has been supportive in keeping the issues of standards in the public domain and wish to continue with that partnership to ensure improved quality of life to Ugandans. Your support is much appreciated.
  • To all Ugandans, let us embrace quality and standards as a tool for socio-economic transformation of all and support UNBS in realising its mandate of consumer protection and facilitation of fair trade.


31st July 2018