The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has re-introduced the Pre-Export verification guidelines to deal with the explosion of products on the market which do not conform to standards
The Pre-Export Verification of Conformity to Standards (PVOC) is to be handled under the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
Speaking to journalists on Friday, Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde said the pre-verification guidelines take effect immediately, and goods will be subjected to a prior inspection from country of origin before being allowed to the Ugandan market.
PVOC was suspended in June 2012 three months after it was put in place, when the Ministry set up a committee to investigate on the effectiveness of the programme. The committee drew members from the Ministry, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), UNBS, Chamber of Commerce, and the Private Sector Foundation.
Kyambadde is now convinced of an urgent need to apply the PVOC guidelines to curb counterfeit and sub-standard products flocking the Ugandan Market. She confirmed that she had received numerous complaints by investors, manufacturers as well as importers of genuine products about counterfeit and sub-standard goods being imported in the country, as a result crippling viable businesses.
Patricia Ejalu, Deputy Executive Director at UNBS explains that some of the products are manufactured in India, Malaysia, Pakistan and China, while other goods originate from local manufacturers. Ejalu noted that apart from a few exempted goods like some food products and cosmetics, which are awaiting a better mechanism, all merchandise will be inspected and verified as is currently the norm with local manufacturers.
The goods classified as highly hazardous that must pass a mandatory inspection include, food, beverages, electrical appliances, cosmetics, children’s toys, formula milk, and used cars. These goods according to Kyambadde endanger public health, safety and the environment.
PVOC requires that all goods falling under the Uganda Compulsory Standards are inspected in the country of origin by the Government of Uganda through contracted international inspection agents.
The inspection agents for general goods accredited after meeting international inspection standards are Societe’ Generale De Surveillance (SGS), Intertek International and Bureau Veritas. Motor vehicles, on the other hand, will be verified through Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Centre based in Japan, Jabal Kilimanjaro Auto Mechanics in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and East Africa Automobile Services in Japan and UAE.
The inspection fee which will be met by the exporter is between 235 to 2375 US dollars depending on the time taken for clearance at the Ugandan borders