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Private sector players to spearhead implementation of trade treaties

Minister Francis Mwebesa.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government has mapped out a policy for different private sector players, to be responsible for the implementation of the different trade agreements the government signs, as individuals or under their associations.

This revelation was made by Francis Mwebesa, the Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, as a solution to persistent exportation of substandard products, especially in countries with whom Uganda signed trade agreements.

While addressing journalists at function where up to 500 Micro and Small Enterprises-MSMEs were being granted certifications of up to 700 of their products, the minister said the problem of exporting substandard products has persisted for a long time, and the ministry is looking for all possible ways to solve it.

According to Mwebesa, Uganda has as always failed to meet its obligations in the signed agreements as most of the exported products are rejected for being substandard.

Mwebesa said that government plays its role and looks out for the different markets, only to be let down by poor quality supplies, which he said have negatively impacted on the country’s economic growth.

According to the minister, under this strategy, the private sector will have to engage with their counterparts in the recipient countries, to make sure that they harmonise the quality issue, unlike before where government could commit on their behalf, but now it will only create an environment for this to take place

Part of the problem, the minister says is the informality in the Ugandan business sector, whose effects spill over to Uganda’s partners worldwide, and the move by UNBS has created the first step towards realising the objective of this policy.

Information from the ministry of trade, indicates that Uganda misses out on hundreds of millions of shillings per month from fruits and vegetables on the European Union market, due to the poor quality products.

With facilitation from the Private Sector Foundation-PSFU, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards-UNBS is to issue up to 700 products from 500 MSMEs quality standard certificates, in a move to facilitate trade and formalisation of businesses in the country.

The 1.2 billion shillings project this week saw 138 MSMEs being issued certifications of up to 235 of their products. Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO of PSFU says that obtaining a Q Mark is the first step towards business sustainability because it builds customer confidence in a given product.

Asiimwe said as the foundation, they will continue to support the MSMEs to their ultimate growth, especially in market accessibility in the region.

Livingstone Ebiru, the UNBS executive director said that the granting of these q marks to these enterprises, is in line with instilling certification culture among the enterprises and export promotion.

According to Ebiru, this program has helped the agency to clear the backlog of companies that had applied for the Q Mark but could not afford, and they would end up putting their products on the market.



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