Expectations high as UNBS gets hi-tech executive director

Peter 16th May, 2024 Industry Business Edge Reporter
Expectations high as UNBS gets hi-tech executive director

Mr. James N. Kasigwa has been named the new executive director of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) following an appointment by the Minster of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa.

Kasigwa, 45, is an electrical engineer by profession and boasts of an illustrious career, having worked with multinational corporations, private and public sectors, spanning over two decades in leadership and strategic management of expert teams in Science, Technology, Innovation, Standards and the Infrastructure Industry.

Prior to the new appointment, which took effect on May 13, Kasigwa has been working with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation as the Director for Science, Technology, Innovation Regulation and Biosafety.

  • He previously worked as the Commissioner ICT Infrastructure Development at the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance and in the private sector in the areas of information security and risk management. He becomes the 5th ED of UNBS, replacing David Livingstone Ebiru (2021-2023) who was fired over alleged mismanagement.

The standards body particularly shone during the reign of Dr. Ben Manyindo (2012 - 2021) who made significant contributions to the organization's efforts in standardization and quality assurance.

Formed in 1989, UNBS is mandated to enforce standards in Uganda to ensure the quality and safety of products and services. The body develops, adopts, and promotes standards for products, services, and systems in various sectors of the economy. These standards ensure consistency, safety, and quality, thereby enhancing consumer confidence and facilitating trade.

  • Additionally, UNBS is mandated to conduct quality assurance activities such as product testing, certification, and inspection to verify compliance with established standards. This helps to safeguard public health, safety, and environmental protection.

UNBS is also responsible for maintaining the national measurement standards and providing calibration and metrology services to ensure accuracy and reliability in measurements across different sectors.

UNBS’s mandate also includes developing, promoting and enforcing standards in protection of public health and safety, and the environment against dangerous substandard products as well as ensuring fair trade.

Additionally, UNBS assesses and certifies products, processes, and systems to ensure that they meet specified requirements and standards. This helps to facilitate market access for Ugandan products both domestically and internationally.

Furthermore, its mandate also includes educating consumers about their rights regarding product quality and safety, as well as investigating complaints and taking enforcement actions against non-compliant products so as to protect consumers from substandard goods and services.

  • Kasigwa’s appointment comes at time when the standards body is still reeling after numerous financial scandals involving the misappropriation of billions of shillings.
  • He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Makerere University, a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s of Science degree in Telecommunications Engineering from London South Bank Uiversity, London, England, and an MBA in Business Administration from ESAMI.

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