20th October , 2016
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards has today held a consultative meeting to collect views from stakeholder in preparation to enforce the compulsory standards regulations that require all goods covered by compulsory standards to be certified and bear the UNBS Quality-Mark (Q-Mark) before they are allowed on the market.
The meeting follows the declaration of the Q-Mark as a Distinctive Mark by the National Standards Council (NSC) early this year.
This means that it will now be compulsory to affix the Q-Mark on all products with mandatory standards before being placed on the market. This is in accordance with the provisions of Section 18 of the UNBS Act Cap 327.
A Q-Mark on a product shows that the product meets quality and safety requirements specified in the standard. A product with a Q-Mark is fit for purpose and safe to consume.
The Q-Mark, though currently voluntary, is the Product Certification Mark notified by Uganda to the EAC Secretariat and recognized by other Partner States within the framework of the EAC SQMT Act for free movement of our goods across the borders without further inspection and testing. Ugandan products bearing the Q-Mark are not subjected to any inspection or testing at the borders for compliance to standards for safety and quality when being exported to the other EAC Partner states. Products that do not have the Q-Mark are usually subjected to inspection and testing at the border and will not be released before compliance is ascertained. These delays from testing procedures and demurrage charges impose very high costs of doing business to our business community.
By declaring the Q-Mark as the distinctive mark therefore, the NSC has taken a strategic move that will help drive implementation of standards for improved product quality industries and boost market access to the regional markets. Unlike in the current situation where businesses only run to UNBS for the Q-Mark when their goods are stopped at the border, this is now a proactive move to ensure all our products meet minimum quality and safety requirements and are ready for the export market at any time. Businesses will be able to export their product as soon as they receive orders without worrying about being stopped at the border because there is proof to show your products meet standard requirements for quality and safety.
1. The major benefit is that manufacturers with Q-Mark will now enjoy both the East Africa Mark (EAC) and international market, and ultimately increased returns on their businesses.
2. On the government side, there is hope to realize Balance of Trade as a result of increased exports
3. The move is also expected to create sanity in the market whereby consumers’ protection will be enhanced since the Distinctive Mark is now compulsory to all mandatory standards / product.
The implementation will be done in phases, firstly starting with sensitization of the public to be aware of the changes in certification.
UGANDA NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS
Plot 2 – 12, Bypass Link, Bweyogerere Industrial & Business Park, Kyaliwajala Road,
P.O Box 6329 Kampala, Uganda
Telephone: 0417 – 333 250, 0417 – 333 251, 0417 – 333 252,
Toll-free : 0800 133 133.
19TH AUGUST 2016