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The UNBS plans to inspect all High Risk Goods before they are imported into the country. This is a result of substandard, fake and counterfeit products continuing to filter through into the Uganda market in spite of the imports inspection and clearance scheme introduced by UNBS in march 2003 which focused on destination inspection, where goods are inspected on arrival at the port of entry. In order not to put the health and safety of consumers at high risk,

UNBS is to introduce the Pre- export verification of conformity (PVoC) programme in order to overcome some of the major challenges, and also improve on the quality of products on the Ugandan market. Under this programme, goods destined to Uganda will have to be inspected for conformity to standards in the country of origin.

The main aim of the PVoC program is to prevent unsafe, sub-standard and potentially dangerous goods form being shipped to Uganda by carrying out conformity assessment (inspection, testing and certification) in the country of origin and the goods cleared before shipment. Introduction of the PVoC will further ensure that Ugandan Manufactures are not subjected to unfair competition from imported fake and counterfeit goods. Introduction of the PVoC is expected to mitigate;
  • Losses for the manufacturer and importer
  • Delays in clearing imports due to sampling and testing
  • Increased demurrage on the goods
  • Increased laboratory analysis costs for importers
  • Difficulties in dealing with rejected products particularly destruction or re-exportation at the importers expense
  • Unethical disposal methods for items such as radioactive materials of heavily toxic substances
  • Additional expenses for UNBS and importers where samples beyond its testing capacity have to be sent abroad
  • Goods bypassing standards check points due to UNBS limited countrywide coverage of entry points for imports
  • Boosting internal manufacturing capacity because counterfeits suppress local manufacturing since they are cheaper.
How the programme will work.

UNBS will appoint inspection and testing service providers worldwide based on countries of origin to inspect all high risk goods destined to Uganda and issue the consignments with a certificate of conformity (CoC) which is evidence that the goods have been tested and found to conform to national or international standards. To minimize cases of fraud by unknown bodies and/or laboratories,

UNBS in collaboration with other National Standards Bodies (NSBs) will appoint inspection Bodies/agencies in the countries of origin. The PVoC programme will be enforced through the presentation of a UNBS - PvoC certificate of conformity to UNBS or customs for every shipment of high risk product entering Uganda's ports of entry. This means that the CoC will be a mandatory clearance document for all high-risk goods in addition to any other existing import documentation requirements. The PVoC programme has been successful in Kenya, Qatar, Nigeria, Dubai and in other countries so UNBS is not reinventing the wheel.

A major concern to importers is that this scheme will add to the costs of imported good. However the importer will be paying a small fraction of the total value of a consignment regardless the volume, for instance cars going to Kenya and Tanzania are inspected by inspection bureaus before they are shipped while those to Uganda are not, but there is virtually no difference in the cost of cars going to Kenya and those coming to Uganda.

Is PVoC the same as PSI (Pre-shipment inspection?) The answer is No. PSI was an inspection exercise also done in the country of origins used by taxation bodies and finance ministries to verify quantities and values of imported goods in order to properly assess and collect taxes.On the contrary,

PVoC is about the quality of goods as per the set national or international standards. The PVoC programme will be limited to High Risk Goods, i.e. goods that are capable of causing harm to consumers or users when in substandard form. These include but are not limited to the following:
  • Electrical products and appliances
  • Food products
  • Building and construction materials
  • Chemicals & Chemical Products
  • Domestic/ Household appliances
  • Tyres and spare parts
  • Toys, and others
UNBS expects to substantially reduce and eventually eliminate fake and substandard high-risk products from the market once PVoC is fully operational.
see also
Check also from the consumers protection chapter;
Economic Development

East African Business Council