New Trade Minister tasks UNBS to work on Quality of Ugandan products

HABARI DAILY I Kampala, Uganda I The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has been urged to increase their vigilance on the production of substandard products, which have affected Uganda’s export potential

Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbaddi, the new minister of state for trade, Industry and Cooperatives, in charge of the Trade sub-sector, said UNBS should ensure that all Ugandan products meet the required safety standards to ensure safety of both local and international consumers.

“It’s only through quality assurance that Uganda can grow her exports especially for agriculture products. Issues of aflatoxins in Uganda’s agriculture products should not arise anymore because we need to maintain our foreign markets,” he said during the handover of office by the outgoing minister, Harriet Ntabazi, he called upon the Uganda National Bureau Standards

He also tasked the quality assurance department of the ministry of trade to ensure that all products imported into the country are up to standard.

Mbaddi also vowed to work together with the ministry of trade officials and other relevant bodies to fulfill the government’s mandate of growing Uganda’s exports.

Harriet Ntabazi, the outgoing minister of trade, who was appointed a Presidential advisor on trade, urged Mbaddi to work hand in hand with the senior minister, Francis Mwebesa, to ensure that the country signs the EAC-EU EPA. Up

“This will help the country circumvent any restrictions that may arise under the pretext of violating human rights. We need to grow our exports in order to take the country into upper Middle Income, after attaining the lower Middle Income status,” she said.

She also urged Mbaddi to address the understaffing in the department of trade, and also ensure timely payment of outstanding arrears to international organizations.

“Urgently resolve the ban of export of timber as it affects the forestry industry, and address the increasing interception of Uganda’s agricultural exports to the EU,” she said.

Francis Mwebesa, the trade minister urged Gen. Mbaddi to be conversant with ongoing rationalization of Government’s departments and agencies, especially concerning those in the ministry of trade.

“You may be called on short notice to handle matters pertaining to the Departments of Industry, Cooperatives, Processing and Marketing, and Business Development and Quality Assurance. There is an ongoing process for their rationalization, and you need to be fully involved,” he said.

Mwebesa informed the incoming minister of the newly introduced Competition Law which was passed by Parliament and assented to by the President, as one of the tools put in place to change the face of Uganda’s industry.

“Cabinet also approved the formation of a cooperative Bank, and we have managed to increase the capitation of Uganda Development Corporation from sh500b to sh5 trillion for the next five years,” he said.

Geraldine Ssali, the trade ministry permanent secretary urged Mbaddi to be involved in pushing for more exports to the United States of America, Uganda still has a great opportunity of exporting to the US under the normal trade regime (MFN) and identifying alternative markets.

“This calls for increased funding to the AGOA Country Office to continue engaging with the US with the view to reopen the AGOA window and facilitate exporters to improve product branding and marketing,” she said.

She added that to further support exports promotion and market access to the USA, the Ministry’s AGOA unit needs sh3.9b to carry out market intelligence, support the private sector to attend trade exhibitions, and organize USA buyers to come to Uganda.

Ssali said the Government, through the Cabinet, has introduced programs to support investments aimed at increasing value-addition to local raw materials, increasing jobs, imports substitution and exports promotion.

“Under UDC, we have undertaken and completed feasibility studies in the agro, mineral and services sector. We currently need sh200b for critical unfunded projects. These projects include Abubakar Technical and General Services Ltd, East African Medical Vitals, Sanga Vet, National Marketing Company, UDC House and Devki Steel Ltd.”

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