The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) lacks funding to adequately block substandard goods from accessing the Ugandan market, parliament has been told.
According to the UNBS Executive Director Dr. Ben. Manyindo, lack of adequate staff, equipment and logistics to inspect products before and after accessing the Ugandan market has left the agency incapacitated and with little to do as substandard products flood the market.
Dr. Manyindo told the parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that the 68bn budget allocation for the standards Bureau cannot meet the needs to enforce standard of products on market.
“I have only 68 billion is the money I am getting to be able to protect 40 million Ugandans, it is almost impossible” said Dr. Ben Manyindo.
He said the 68bn budget allocation to the bureau cannot facilitate development, cater for non-wage and wage bills in order to ably undertake the enforcement of product standards. He said the laboratories available cannot handle testing requirements of products, and inspecting all imports as well as home-made products before they access the Ugandan market.
He however said the bureau has managed to use the available funds to enforce the standard on several products, and create awareness in terms of stakeholder engagement.
Asked if the bureau has a list of importers for easy identification and monitoring, Dr. Manyindo could not produce one saying it is not possible since there isn’nt permanent importers and the list keeps changing.
He however said in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives the bureau has compiled and maintained a list of 20 products that are sensitive and whose standard is essential.
UNBS is charged with inspection of imports coming into Uganda and enforcing the requirements of the Uganda standards in order to protect the health and safety of the public and environment against dangerous and sub-standard products.
The Ugandan market is flooded with sub-standard products ranging from clothing and household items, to medicine and food.