BY DAVID MAFABI
Uganda National Bureau of Standards [UNBS] has opened its second food safety laboratory in Mbale City for the Eastern region.
The food safety center is meant to provide conformity assessment and quality assurance of the products manufactured in Eastern Uganda.
Mr David Livingstone Ebiru, the executive director said this is part of the Bureau’s strategic plan to decentralize quality infrastructure and other standardisation services to other parts of the country.
In July this year, UNBS commissioned the first regional testing laboratories in Gulu City to serve Northern Uganda, Mbale now becomes the second regional laboratory to be commissioned in Mbale to cater for Eastern Uganda.
Mr Ebiru thanked Trade Mark East Africa [TMEA] and the Danish government for providing the critical equipment worth USD 4, 455, 283 for UNBS regional testing laboratories and promised to put them into optimum use.
He urged enterprises involved in any form of production, processing, and value addition to take advantage of the decentralized quality infrastructure to enhance the quality and safety of their products by seeking certification services [Q-Mark] from UNBS before putting them on market.
Mr Charles Musekuura, the chairperson National Standards Council pledged to continue working with the Bureau’s agenda of taking standardisation services to every region in order to reduce the cost of doing business and support the production, trade,, and consumption of quality products across the country.
Mr Francis Mwebesa, the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives welcomed the Bureau’s initiative of taking its services nearer to the people despite the constraints in resources and pledged his support for UNBS efforts.
Mr Mwebesa explained that quality standards are critical in supporting the government’s industrialisation agenda, Buy Uganda Build Uganda [BUBU] policy, import substitution, and export promotion strategies.
He further urged all enterprises engaged in any form of production, value addition, and trade to embrace quality standards by dealing in quality and safe products in order to protect public health and safety.
H.E Henrick Jespersen, the Danish deputy ambassador to Uganda appreciated UNBS for putting the support given to them to the best use and expressed hope that this would significantly contribute to the safety and quality of Uganda products as well as support other government programs such as Agro-industrialisation, manufacturing and Private sector development which are critical for the country’s economic transformation.
She urged UNBS to prioritise vulnerable enterprises especially SMEs owned by women and youth in order to empower them to produce safe and quality products which are competitive on the market for their livelihoods
Ms Jespersen also tasked the enterprises to take advantage of the decentralized testing facility to improve quality of their products in order to benefit from regional and continental markets such as EAC and AfCFTA including exports to other international markets like the European Union [EU]. Ends