Uganda Bureau of Standards launches online portal; automates import inspection and clearance process

Left; Uganda Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambade and right; TMA Uganda Country Director, Allen Asiimwe shake hands at the launch of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) portal.
Left; Uganda Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambade and right; TMA Uganda Country Director, Allen Asiimwe shake hands at the launch of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) portal.

Kampala, Uganda, 14th May, 2014: Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and TradeMark Africa (TMA) today launched an online portal that automates imports inspection and clearance.

The portal which cost a total of $US 100,000 willenable traders access UNBS services from any geographical location without physical visits to UNBS offices. This will savethem time and money by providing an easy access to information, quicker lodging and approval of applications and import clearance certificates, easy access to various standards permits, and ease in monitoring business transactions and receive timely email notifications.

Uganda Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambadeand TMA Country Director, Allen Asiimwe graced the event.

Speaking at the launch, Hon. Kyambade said;

“With this portal, UNBS will address the numerous challenges faced by traders in importing and exporting while adhering to UNBS regulations. I encourage traders to visit the database as it is an important reference point for import/export as one engages in trading activities both locally and internationally. Traders will find the portal useful as it has information on import/export requirements including import licensing requirements. We expect that the portal will be a tool for raising level of awareness of the traders on the regulations and procedures of import/export business. In the long term, it will assist in reducing delays in cargo clearance due to incorrect licenses or import/export procedures by the trader as well as assist UNBS achieve its mission.”

UNBS partnered with TMA to develop the portal in response to challenges it faced with its manual clearance. For traders it meant physical presence at the port of entry UNBS offices to lodge applications and fill other documentation, time lost due to tedious back and forth communication

betweeninspectors working at the border posts and those based at headquarters in Kampala. For UNBS, it meant long work hours, crowded offices and increasing importer complaints.

Early tests with traders show that, use of the online portal will result to 20% reduction in transaction time and up to 15% reduction in indirect costs associated with subscribing for import inspection services from UNBS.

TMA Uganda Country Director, Ms. Allen Asiimwe praised UNBS for automating its services and underscored TMA’s commitment to support governmental institutions to adopt ICT saying;

“Automation of other government agencies trade processes and systems is one of the critical success factors to a robust National Electronic Single Window which is part of TMA’s wider ICT agenda for accelerating trade in the region. TMA vision for EAC standard bodies is that they have a regional platform where they can communicate on an agency to agency level to share alerts, information and intelligence on commodities destined for their countries. UNBS has taken the first step and for this reason wecommend them for preparedness to integrate to the single window ecosystem.

Due to adoption of the portal, UNBS will generate more revenue as a result of increase importer compliance levels, streamlined processes, improved transparency and increase volumes of imported goods as a result of reduced delays.

TradeMark Africa (TMA) provided technical and financial support to UNBS. TMA is spearheading adoption of ICT within key government and non-government institutions to transform their processes and increase efficiencies. As part of Uganda government digitization process, the UNBS will be integrated with other government agencies whose mandates involves imports through an interface with the Uganda National Electronic Single Window, an initiative of the Government of Uganda with the support of development partners such as TMA .

Source: TradeMark Africa


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.