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Govt supports private sector to make face masks

By Gerald Tenywa

Added 22nd May 2020 12:08 PM

Anite said funding with a low-interest rate is waiting for manufacturers of face masks at the Uganda Development Bank (UDB). She said the government has also secured money to buy the face masks and that the companies producing them will not supply on credit.

Govt supports private sector to make face masks

Anite meets mask manufacturers at UMA. Photos by Maria Wamala

Anite said funding with a low-interest rate is waiting for manufacturers of face masks at the Uganda Development Bank (UDB). She said the government has also secured money to buy the face masks and that the companies producing them will not supply on credit.

COVID-19 

KAMPALA - The Government has given concessions to manufacturers of face masks in order to protect Ugandans from the coronavirus (COVID-19), the state minister for investment, Evelyne Anite, has said.

About 35 million masks will be distributed to Ugandans aged six years and above and medical professionals in the coming two weeks.

Anite said funding with a low-interest rate is waiting for manufacturers of face masks at the Uganda Development Bank (UDB). She said the government has also secured money to buy the face masks and that the companies producing them will not supply on credit.

The Government is also expected to supply a reliable source of power to the companies making the face masks.

However, the face masks, including the process of producing them, will have to be certified, after meeting standards by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and the National Drug Authority (NDA).

UNBS deputy director Patricia Bageine Ejalu said the standard on face masks is the first local standard and this will be enforced to help the companies make money, but also protect Ugandans. She told companies to supply their samples pending inspection of the processes at the company's premises.

 nite meets mask manufacturers at Anite meets mask manufacturers at UMA

 
Masks to create 15,000 jobs

Anite said making face masks is labour intensive and that it would give jobs for up to 15,000 people.

She also said the local market for masks is big and that they will link the companies to the markets in the region.

Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, the chairperson of the National Drug Authority, said they were ready to ensure that the certification process is expedited.

Bitekyerezo said the process of making face masks should not ignore the standards because there is a risk that masks could end up endangering the users. He said the masks should allow clean air to pass through, while retaining bacteria and viruses, including coronavirus.

Bitekyerezo said people risk suffering from pneumonia as a result of poor quality and dirty face masks.

He is also against black masks, pointing out that they hide dirt and through repeated use, they could endanger the users.

He said the masks should be washed daily and the fibre that is embedded in the cloth should be ironed. This, according to Bitekyerezo, helps to destroy the germs in the face masks that are repeatedly used in the fight against coronavirus.

 
Masks not political

Anite said the masks should not be in colours affiliated to political groups. She told companies to provide their samples, prices and capacity by the end of yesterday. 

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