By Prossy Nandudu
THE Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the association for used car importers in Uganda have agreed to inspect all vehicles entering the country.
The agreement was reached at in a meeting between car importers and the ministry of trade, according to the UNBS’s executive director, Dr. Ben Manyindo.
However pre-inspection continues for those vehicles that don’t fall under any of the above time frames, and becomes mandatory effective 1stJune, 2014, explained Manyindo.
“Our inspectors will be at border to verify the necessary documents such that the agreement is not breached such that effective 1st June, where it will be mandatory to have all goods pre-inspected at the point of origin,” explained Manyindo.
Manyindo revealed this while meeting the Indian business community under the Indian Association of Uganda in Wandegeya.
The spokesman of the Indian Association of Uganda, Sanjiv Patel Mugisha explained that the meeting was aimed at sharing their concerns with the bureau as a way of improving the business environment in the country.
“Indian companies are some of the highest tax payers in the country its good for UNBS to understand our views in this platform where we raise concerns and then they respond so that we can have a fair environment for our businesses just like any other Ugandan,” said Patel Mugisha.
Reactions from the meeting
Some importers accused UNBS of making extra fees for inspectors in what they termed as double payment.
This follows Manyindo’s explanation that every time one is importing they will be required to go through the same process of inspection before they are issued a certificate stating their goods have been checked and can cross into the country.
“If inspectors have checked the same product before, why should they keep inspecting it every time I import, don’t you think that is expensive for us the importers after all it is the same product like two days ago, I think UNBS is making money for inspectors,” said Nishant a cement importer from Belgium.
Others blamed UNBS for closing down cosmetics companies that were manufacturing products containing hydroquinone and yet they are allowing the importation of these products on the market.
Some from the food industry accused UNBS of turning a blind eye to the increased brands of biscuits on the market.
“We the local manufacturers are producing at less than 30% because of the many brands which are even expired. Many of the brands are written in Arabic how can consumers know whether they are expired or not?’ questioned one of the participants.
In response, deputy executive director UNBS, Patricia Ejalu promised to increase on the surveillance function so as to address the concern.