Trade Minister Wants Accreditation Conformity Bill 2018 Passed into Law to cut Cost the of Product Assessment
By Adiag Julius
Minister for Trade Amelia Kyambadde has said that if the accreditation for conformity assessment bill 2018 is passed into law will ease the assessment of goods, services, and facilities in Uganda.
Appearing before the committee on tourism, trade, and industry chaired by Robert Kibirige Sebunya, the minister told MPs, that current total cost for accreditation by South African firm SANAS & SADCAS of Ugandan goods is at Usd11, 025 but with Conformity Assessment Bodies in Uganda, the cost will go down by 20 – 30%.
Adding that the cost of accreditation from external bodies is very high mainly for private laboratories, which hinders private sector investment in quality infrastructure namely testing, calibration and inspection services and yet Uganda is a private sector-led.
She notes that the export of some goods from Uganda have been banned and others subjected to additional compliance test by importing countries, mainly European Union EU, who is one of Uganda’s major trade partners.
The minister cited an example in 1999 when EU banned fish exports from Uganda due to failure to meet quality requirements for fish, the government of Uganda, was then supported by EU to fund investment in laboratory testing and quality management of landing sites.
Some of the objectives of the bill include providing for internationally recognized and effective national accreditation system, enacted by law on accreditation for conformity assessment services.
Said that currently UNBS is overloaded with a lot of work, it’s not well respected internationally, therefore having a body like Uganda national accreditation services internationally recognized will help reduce costs spent abroad like South Africa and Egypt.
The chairperson of the committee Robert Sebunya said it’s good to have an internationally recognized department, which will oversee other agencies like Uganda national bureau of standards (UNSB) and brings services to Uganda instead of going to Egypt or South Africa as it’s currently.
Meanwhile, UNBS will continue to do its role of development and promotion standards and management system certification and verifications while UGANAS will provide the auditing and assessment of conformity assessments both public and private including UNBS which is currently being accredited by SANAS
He said the accreditation service will have few but effective staff providing professional services.
The Accreditation for Conformity Assessment Bill 2018 was read for the first time on the floor of Parliament, on 22 August 2019, and was referred to the Trade Committee to engage key stakeholders on its content.