KAMPALA. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will now be able to access regional markets to compete competitively after attaining the standardisation and quality certification mark.
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde, revealed that more than 60 enterprises had successfully attained certification which would enable them access the regional markets.
The minister was officiating at the awarding of certificates to MSMEs by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) with support from the Trade ministry and the Quality Infrastructure Standards Programme (QISP).
Thirty six products were certified from 21 MSMEs with both Standardisation Mark (S-Mark) and the Quality Mark (Q-Mark). This allows these companies to access both local and regional markets.
“Most of these enterprises face challenges of poor product packaging and labelling which results into poor quality products and as such fail to access certain markets,” she said.
The minister also said there was need to simplify the standards into a much understandable language because it was too technical for most of the MSMEs.
Dr Ben Manyindo, the executive director UNBS, said MSMEs can now ably implement standards and certification requirements, good manufacturing practices and good hygienic practices in order to manufacture safe and quality products which are fit for human consumption and can access markets at national, regional and international levels.
“Deliberate support to MSMEs can contribute revenue to government, create employment especially for the youth and women and contribute to the social economic transformation which is in line with the National Development Plan and Vision 2040,” Dr Manyindo said.
He also explained that the standards body has been providing onsite technical guidance to over 100 MSMEs in a bid to raise the level of standards awareness and compliance to certification requirements.
The support has enabled MSMEs to have their products tested for conformity for free and some have had their certification fees waived which has enabled many enterprises to comply with standards and manufacture safe and quality products.
Through efforts and advocacy of the Ministry of Trade, government agreed to put extra resources of Shs1.5b in the next financial year to target another 100 MSMEs to help them achieve the required standards.
UNBS and ministry of Trade and the QISP introduced the MSMEs certification scheme in 2015 to provide onsite technical assistance and free product testing to enable MSMEs achieve affordable certification of products. Products which comply with the standards requirements are marked with a Standardisation Mark (S-Mark) or the Quality Mark (Q-Mark).