‘Implement measures to lower cost of doing business’

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has been urged to implement conducive measures that will ease the cost of doing business.

According to Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi (Indep., Rukiga County), many businesses are closing due to factors like high taxes and other attendant costs.

He added that substandard products on the market have also affected the growth and progress of local manufacturers.
“Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is doing this country a disservice by failing to reduce counterfeits. The moment there are substandard products on the market, traders lose a lot of money because those with genuine products cannot sell them,” Ndyomugyenyi said.

Hon. Milton Muwuma (NRM, Kigulu County South) said UNBS has a lean staff structure to execute their mandate of monitoring product standards and called on Parliament to avail the bureau with the requisite resources.
“If you went to the countryside, UNBS has only excelled in terrorising retail shops on the issue of weighing scales yet we are consuming expired products in supermarkets,” said Muwuma.

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa faulted UNBS for favouring imported products on the market over locally manufactured products which he said has negatively impacted on local manufacturers.

He added that the cost of standardisation of products is very high.
“We wanted to make a product called a surface disinfectant but UNBS said we could not call it so because it was against their standards. But they are allowing imported products called surface disinfectants which are even in supermarkets,” said Tayebwa.

He noted that such actions have limited local investors from supplying their products due to issues like naming.
“UNBS is not able to certify some of these products because they do not have funds to establish laboratories to test whether the products conform to the set standards,” Tayebwa added.

The Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Francis Mwebesa said that UNBS ought to receive more funding to fill staffing gaps that will enable the bureau carry out visits to different factories across the country.
“This is why we are asking for more staff who can visit manufacturing centres to see if standards set for different products are being followed,” Mwebesa said.

The Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry in its report has recommended that UNBS is allocated Shs52.2 billion.