The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has asked dealers who import used cars to have them inspected at border checkpoints between September 23 and November 1. This temporary measure is being taken while UNBS completes the process of selecting inspection service providers, as required by the law.
Importers will need to pay a fee of Sh500,000 per vehicle to the government through the Uganda Revenue Authority payment portal for this inspection.
Ms. Sylvia Kirabo, the UNBS spokesperson, explained that this step was taken because there was a delay in appointing inspection service providers in the countries where the used vehicles are sourced. This measure is intended to prevent any disruptions in the import business.
It’s important to note that products which do not meet the minimum health, safety, and performance standards outlined in Ugandan standards are not permitted to enter the country. These products are either destroyed or sent back to the importer at their expense.
UNBS is responsible for inspecting and regulating imports to ensure they meet safety and quality standards. This responsibility is outlined in the UNBS Act Cap 327, which has been in operation since 1989. The main goal of import inspections is to protect public health, safety, and the environment by preventing the entry of dangerous or substandard products.
The Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) program is used to assess products against mandatory Ugandan standards in the exporting countries to ensure compliance with Ugandan standards. Only products that meet these standards receive a Certificate of Conformity (COC), which is required for clearance upon arrival in Uganda. This helps expedite the clearance process, reduces substandard products in the market, safeguards local industries from unfair competition, and ensures consumer safety and environmental protection. PVoC inspections for used cars are conducted in South Africa, Singapore, the UK, the UAE, and Japan.
This requirement mainly applies to products with a free-on-board value exceeding $2,000 (Shs7.47m), covered by mandatory standards, and inspected by personnel in the exporting country.
Importers are required to present a COC at the Ugandan entry point, and used cars must also have a Certificate of Road Worthiness (CRW) to be cleared.
Starting from November 2, 2023, all imported used cars from Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries must undergo PVoC inspections with UNBS-approved service providers before being imported into Uganda. Importers who fail to obtain PVoC certification may face a 15 percent surcharge based on the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value. If necessary, inspectors can collect product samples for laboratory analysis.