26 February 2007

Uganda: Imported Goods to Be Tested From Abroad

Kampala — The continuous flow of substandard and fake goods into Uganda has become a constant test to the country's National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).

In order to combat this, the bureau planning to start testing select imports from their countries of origin by the last quarter of 2007.

The Pre-Verification of Conformity (PVOC) will require importers to have their goods tested in certified laboratories in their country of origin before they are brought into the country.

Uganda will become the second country in East Africa to adopt the tough stance on quality products after Kenya in 2005.

Imported products are common place on Uganda's local market probably due to the country's small manufacturing sector.

"We are at tails end with these fake, substandard and sometimes counterfeit products' coming from abroad that is why we are taking up this up," the head of quality assurance at UNBS, Mr. Deus Mubangizi said.

The plan will require UNBS to secure approval from respective governments and reach an understanding with the laboratories abroad to test the products that are destined for Uganda so that only those of good quality are accepted.

There after, the signing of a Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with these countries and laboratories to allow testing of the goods will kick start the process.

Countries like China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom are likely to be first on the UNBS list because they have the biggest number of products coming into the country.

Although the cost of testing will fall on the individual importers, the new plan will make it cheaper for both the UNBS and the importer as less time and finances will be deployed to check the products at the border points.

The standards body is hopeful that the importers will embrace the plan to commence with high risk products such as food products, electricals, construction products and tyres before going on to others in the subsequent future.

It will also remove the unfair competition created by a few unscrupulous traders who bring in fake products which they sell at cheaper prices.

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