UNBS feels happy and excited on reaching this milestone and thank the Almighty God for how far he has brought us in service to humanity. In the same spirit, we celebrate the men and women who have walked this journey, the many partners that have made things happen, the staff who have made their contribution and the Government for facilitating this journey over the last 30 years. Congratulations to all of you.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) was established in 1986 by an Act of Parliament – UNBS Act Cap 327 and it began operations in 1989. This year, UNBS is therefore celebrating 30 years of service and has lined up a number of activities throughout the year culminating into the Anniversary Symposium and Gala. The theme of the celebrations is: “Celebrating 30 years of Promoting Standards, Trade, and Consumer Protection”.
The following activities have been lined up to celebrate the 30 years of UNBS:
What has been the contribution of UNBS?
UNBS is 30 years old and has made some contribution to the development of the country. We have a home and continue to develop the quality infrastructure to support trade. The mandate of UNBS provides it with a lot of depth and width in protection of consumers and facilitation of fair trade using standards. Standards therefore cut across all spheres of the economy and when fully embraced and implemented improve the quality of life and contribute to socio-economic development of a nation.
The number of standards developed in the areas of food and agriculture, consumer goods, chemicals, oil and gas, management services, engineering, medical devices have grown to 3,621 as of March 2019. The number of products and companies getting their products certified have increased with many exporting their products within the region. To date over 1200 permits for use of Q-mark has been issued and expected to increase to over 2000 by end of the year 2019.
Likewise, in other SQMT activities, tremendous progress has been made and continue to be made. The demand for UNBS services continue to increase thus demanding innovations and research in providing acceptable solutions. These have been among others automation of UNBS services, decentralization of services to regions and simplification of our process to make them faster, better and easier.
Government continues to provide funding to UNBS for infrastructure development, recruitment of staff and our field based operations. The budget has been increased from UGX 47 billion to UGX 70 billion next FY with UGX 40 billion to be internally generated. The offices were completed in 2016 while the laboratories are being constructed with the food safety laboratory expected to be completed in September 2019.
Enhanced Service delivery continue to be part of our innovations and focal activity for continuous improvement and hallmark of success. The level of competence of UNBS staff continues to be the envy of many and benchmarked by countries within the region. The laboratories of microbiology and chemistry are internationally accredited, the certification department acquired international accreditation this year 2019, while new services are being added every year. Most processes and procedures within UNBS are compliant to international best practices. The Bureau has truly reached a takeoff point that is unstoppable.
So we celebrate the men and women who have made this happen both within the Bureau and outside the Bureau, within government and the non-state actors. I can only say thank you for a job well done. The vision of the bureau is to be a leading institution of international repute in the provision of sustainable standardization services. That vision is within sight.
As we look forward, the Bureau efforts will be focused on reduction of prevalence of substandard goods on the market, standards and measurements in the oil and gas sector, decentralization of UNBS services to other regions; certification of MSMEs to export to the region and internationally as well as construction of the laboratories to support exports and government programs and projects.