The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has given a three months’ grace period of exemption from the Pre-export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) surcharge fees on the commodities that have been included in their scope of regulation.
According to John Paul Musimami, the acting executive director of UNBS, it’s their obligation to protect public health & safety and to ensure that consumers get quality products that match value for money.
The Bureau also has the mandate to promote fair trade and contribute to national development which can be achieved through formulation, implementation and enforcement of standards for both locally manufactured and imported products for the Ugandan market as well as ensuring that national industrial policies are streamlined into available regulations and procedures.
He said in a statement that due to the formulation and development of a number of standards, the bureau expanded the scope of commodities it regulates which has increased the number of import commodities tagged for its intervention on the Uganda Electronic Single Window (eSW) a development that has affected a number of importers who were unaware that their import commodities are regulated by UNBS.
“These importers have engaged UNBS concerning their consignments, which are currently stuck in the Bonds and those already in transit, which did not undergo the UNBS inspection in the countries of export and are hence liable to PVoC surcharge fees, which they can hardly meet due to financial constraints. In consideration of the above challenge, UNBS is providing an exemption period of three months against PVoC requirements,” reads a statement on the UNBS website.
However, to benefit from the waiver according to Musimami, the commodities must be newly targeted for UNBS inspection and hence covered by the attached list of HS codes and importers with affected consignments shall be required to personally approach the UNBS head office at Bweyogerere with an official request addressed to the Manager, Imports Inspection Department.
He added that the above request must be accompanied by; the commodity customs declaration, the importer’s official identification document (for imports declared in personal names), certificate of incorporation, form 20 and one director’s official identification document (for imports declared in company names).
To qualify for this exemption, the importer shall have to sign a commitment with the bureau that all his/her future consignments covered by compulsory Uganda standards shall comply with all UNBS requirements on expiry of the waiver period of March 13, 2022.
“The importer shall have to pre-declare all affected consignments including those in transit. The pre-declaration must be accompanied by the bill of lading/airway bill and the commercial invoice and the affected commodities shall be subjected to destination inspection and testing (where applicable) to ensure they meet quality and safety standards requirements before release,” he added.
However, the condition above is subject to payment of destination inspection and testing fees (where applicable) as per the Import Inspection & Clearance Regulations 2018.
The exemptions are free so no importer shall be expected to pay any money in exchange for a PVoC waiver.