By Norman Katende
Traders who import goods outside the EAC will pay 0.5% of the goods’ cost for PVoC, which will be carried out before goods reach Uganda.
Patricia Ejalu, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards deputy executive director says the move will help save the traders the expenses of having a backlog of goods at the entry points waiting to be verified.
“We are charging 0.5% per consignment, which means that the fee will be shared amongst the traders with a minimum of $220 and maximum of $2375 for the traders,” explained Ejalu.
The 0.5% is the percentage that will be got from the goods whose origin is not known and they have no history of verification.
However, the charge might be as low as 0.25% if the goods are coming from a company that has already been verified.
“What we are doing is to try and protect the consumer by preventing unsafe, substandard and potentially dangerous goods from entering the country,” said Ejalu who noted that the PVoC would have been done in Uganda but the shortage of manpower at UNBS makes it impossible.
She says some substandard goods may make it into the country because of corruption but they are working with other government agencies to curb the vice.
For instance, URA now has a new project, ASYCUDA, where UNBS and other government agencies will also need to first verify the goods before URA allows them to enter the country, as a boost for the shortage of manpower.
UNBS has five laboratories that handle microbiology, chemistry, materials, electrical and petroleum but these are at their Nakawa offices.
“We would like laboratories to be at every region but they are expensive to set up and that is why they are only in Kampala and verification takes time,” said Ejalu who added that they have technical experts in all the fields, but they are not enough to suit the demands of the country that has about 600 standards that they have to monitor.
With over 10 traders bringing in one consignment of about $50,000, the traders will be able to share out the PVOC fee of $250, which means that every trader will be contributing $25 towards the PVOC fee, which will not be taxed as it is a charge.
“Local manufacturers and importers of genuine products have been complaining to UNBS and that is why we have decided to act. I believe the traders should support it,” Ejalu said.