Uganda National Bureau of Standards took part in the Trade, Industry and Cooperatives 10th Annual Sector Review conference held under the theme: Sustainable Industrialization for Job creation and export growth.
During the conference, it was noted that;
- Total merchandise exports increased from US$3.54 billion in 2017/2018 to US$3.96 billion translating into a growth rate of 12%.
- Total merchandise imports increased from US$5.62 billion on 2017/18 to US$6.78 billion, a growth rate of 21%.
- The trade deficit widened from US$2.1 billion in 2017/18 to US$2.8billion, hence a growth rate of 35%
- The services industry grew by 54%.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde, recognized UNBS for its contribution to the growth through;
- Construction of new and modern Food Safety laboratories at Bweyogerere to provide quality Assurance for both imported and locally manufactured products is near completion and expected to be commissioned in November, 2019.
- Obtaining Accreditation to offer ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) and ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) to industry
- Acquiring equipment for testing of the energy / electricity meters to ensure their accuracy and integrity before installation on the network.
- Decentralisation of certification and market surveillance services to the regional offices of Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara
- Increased number of entry points manned by UNBS for inspection of imported products from 17 to 23 during the year
- Deployment of more interactive e-services for UNBS stakeholder to increase efficiency of service delivery.
- Increased compliance to Pre-export verification of Conformity (PVOC program) by importers, e.g 39,162 consignments passed through PVOC.
- 1350 products were certified, majority of which were MSMEs.
- 14 private sector laboratories were recognised by UNBS to undertake testing services in order to reduce the turn-around time.
Some of the challenges cited for the sector however included, closure of the border with Rwanda, the Ebola epidemic in DRC and delay in compensation to traders in South Sudan.
However, to curb the challenges, the Minister, Kyambadde said the Rwanda and Uganda Presidents signed a pact and negotiations are ongoing to ensure that the border is opened, and the delayed compensation to traders in South Sudan is being considered by cabinet.