Uganda: Govt to Set Up Standards Conformity Body

25 February 2021

Government is set to create a National Accreditation System to regulate both government and private agencies that approve standards.

The system, which will have a body corporate, will also be in charge of among others, providing internationally recognised accreditations in a bid to promote trade and local standards.

Addressing journalists in Kampala early this week, Trade Minster Amelia Kyambadde said a Bill has already been passed by Parliament and is only awaiting accent by the President.

The Bill creates a corporate body - Uganda National Accreditation System - with perpetual succession endowed with the functionality of carrying out accreditation of calibration bodies, testing bodies, verification laboratories, certification bodies, inspection bodies and medical laboratories.

The Uganda National Accreditation System will regulate standards of both private and government agencies including Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Chemiphar, and food testing laboratories, private manufacturing labs, medical laboratories and National Drug Authority, among others.

Ms Kyambadde said the system is expected to cut costs and time wasting for the businesses dealing in international trade as it will eliminate testing from both the country of origin and destination.

"... because we didn't not have that law, whatever you take to another country is questioned. We have had challenges with Kenya before whereby they were saying we also have to test with Kenya National Bureau of Standards, but even when we try to harmonise, the confidence is not there because we did not have this legal infrastructure to support our assessment, standard and quality bodies," she said.

Asked whether the National Accreditation System would usurp UNBS' mandate, Ms Sylvia Kirabo, spokesperson UNBS explained that the bureau does not carry out accreditation and has been incurring costs to ensure that they are accredited by institutions from other countries.

"The accreditation body's role will be to regulate and accredit (license) institutions which are involved in conformity assessment such as laboratory testing and certification services. They don't do conformity assessment which UNBS is doing. UNBS will instead benefit [because] the services will now be available within the country," she said.

Some of the agencies

The accredation system will among other regulate standards of agencies such as UNBS, Directorate of Govt Analytical Laboratories, Kawanda Research, Uganda Fisheries Laboratories, Dairy Development Authority, Central Materials Laboratories, National Drug Authority, public laboratories and universities' research laboratories.

KEMIPHA, Inspection Services at Ministry of Works, SGS, Food Testing Laboratories, Private Manufacturing Laboratories, Private Medical Laboratories.

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