Kampala. Until new firms have been selected, Uganda Bureau of Standards (UNBS) will be responsible for inspections of all used cars imported into the country.
This means that the inspection will be done here in the country until further notice.
The move follows a review by Parliament of the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) programme, under which all cars entering Uganda have been inspected.
The Pre-Export Verification of Conformity programme was instituted about five years ago with a view to restrict influx of counterfeit and substandard imports into the country.
Last week UNBS issued new guidelines after the contracts of the service providers, including Eats Africa Auto Mobile, Jabal Kilimanjaro Auto Mech and Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Centre expired.
Mr Ben Manyindo, the UNBS executive director, said in a public notice that inspection will until further notice be done here as opposed to country of origin as it had been happening in the last five years.
“The measure was undertaken to protect health and safety of consumers and the environment against substandard motor vehicles,” he said.
UNBS will be inspecting cars on their roadworthiness as well as protect Uganda against hazardous cars.
However, importers of used cars have questioned the capacity of UNBS, which had in the last five years relied on other companies for technical support.
“We have no problem with UNBS doing what it is trying to do. The question is; do they have the capacity to do the work?” the spokesperson of the Association of Used Motor Dealers, 2015, Mr Francis Kanakulya, wondered? adding “We are not sure about their capacity to handle this task because this is the reason they outsourced the services in the first place.”
Used car importers also expect UNBS to lower the charges of inspection per unit of import, considering that it will now be done here.
The importers said the inspection fees of $300 (nearly Shs1m) is a burden that increases the cost of business.
However, Mr Godwin Muhwezi, the UNBS head of public relations, said they have been building internal capacity for a while.
As we speak, he said, UNBS has close to 300 staff who can efficiently inspect car imports.
The new guidelines, according to UNBS are an administrative measure that seek to ensure continuity as issues concerning contract renewal for contracted companies continue.
The contracts of the three companies expired at the end of May and they are currently under review by Parliament.
“There have been investigations in Parliament concerning the PVoC programme so until we get a clear direction, we cannot proceed to renew contracts of service providers,” Mr Muhwezi said.