By Carol Kasujja
Trade minister, Amelia Kyambadde, has said sub-standard goods in the country have reduced by 5% -10% over the last 12 months and expressed hope that they will reduce further.
She attributed the reduction to the increased crackdowns on shops dealing in such goods by the Uganda national Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
The minister was speaking at a function to mark 25 years of UNBS operations. UNBS revealed that it has had to confiscate and burn goods like among other sub-standard goods that have flooded the Uganda market.
“There has not been elimination 100% of any goods in any particular sector. However, there has been a tremendous reduction of substandard products like electronics and electrical appliances, adulterated fuel, and substandard bottled drinking water that was packed by non-licensed processors,” Kyambadde said she said.
The minister also noted that most meat sold in butcheries does not meet the standards and therefore UNBS will set up 2 model butchers in 6 key markets starting with Wandegeya and demonstrate the standards.
“A study has been done revealing that most butchers are not aware of the minimum standard requirements for their premises in regard to hygiene and presentation. We hope to therefore set up at least two model butcheries in at least 6 regional markets in Kampala and other key towns, to serve as standard models for the others to follow. The cost will total some sh150m,” she said.
Eva Kasirye, the first UNBS executive director told of UNBS’s the humble beginnings and encouraged the staff to persevere even when they come under attack of unscrupulous traders. He told them that if they remain focused they will make an impact to the country’s economy.
“When I was leaving everyone was opposing the 15 acres of land we had acquired, but I am glad that today UNBS will establish its home on that land which will provide enough space to do their tests on the country’s goods,” she said.
Dr. Ben Mayindo, UNBS’ current executive director assured Ugandans that the organisation will step up monitoring to ensure sub-standard goods are eliminated or reduced to the least in the market.
“Our primary concern is to reduce substandard goods in the market. We are going to have more internal trainings so that we give better services to Ugandans,” he said.
He noted that the company has made achievements because of great teamwork, working systems, capable managers as well as recruitment, training and retention of competent staff.
The anniversary launch had in attendance the business community, private sector and consumers.
“I celebrate with UNBS because we people in business without standard we cannot compete internationally,” said Olive Kigongo, the president of Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The UNBS store keeper, John Mbidde was awarded for coming with the anniversary theme of the year: Quality products, quality lives through standards.”