KAMPALA — The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has certified sanitizers manufactured by Rwenzori Bottling Company in addition to already 38 companies producing 43 brands of sanitizers.
Among these are; Saraya Manufacturing (U) Limited, Hoima Sugar Limited, Movit Products Limited, Kakira Sugar Limited, Mukwano Personal Care Products Limited, Kenlon Industries Limited and Premier Distillers Limited.
After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic, it did not take long before COVID-19 became a national emergency, given its impact on the livelihood of the population and economy.
Globally, firms have redeployed production lines to boost the manufacturing of needed supplies like masks, hand sanitizers, and other medical supplies. We have seen breweries, perfume factories and others switching over to make hand sanitizers instead.
Medical experts have come out to clarify that one of the most effective ways to curb the virus spread is washing hands with water and soap or using alcohol based hand sanitizer to avoid transferring it through hands contact. In light of this clarification, backed by the President, Uganda Manufacturers Association convened a meeting to discuss how they could step up and respond to the emerging needs.
During that meeting, Simon Kaheru, Public Affairs and Communication Manager, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Uganda mooted the idea to interest and encourage UMA members to start manufacturing sanitizers; an idea that was welcomed by the UMA leadership.
Uganda Manufacturers Association then resolved to meet with different stakeholders in the industry and pitch this humanitarian idea.
However, the demand of sanitizers coupled with panic buying caused an immediate scarcity and also bred poor quality and ineffective sanitizers on the market – some of them lacking the 60% minimum alcohol content required to effectively kill the virus.
Following an acute shortage of sanitizers on the market, Uganda Manufacturers Association lobbied government through the Minister of State for Investment to waive off Value Added Tax (VAT) and excise duty on certified manufacturers who had channeled their operations to the production of sanitizers. This move propelled the conversion of over 7.3 million liters of alcohol into sanitizers to bridge the shortage.
According to Barbara Mulwana, the Chairman UMA, manufacturers readily agreed to support the anti Covid-19 efforts using all means possible. “It was encouraging to see how resilient the members were despite the current circumstance and the impact it had on their businesses. Their determination and commitment was reassuring,” she commented, adding that “We were overwhelmed by the responses and as we speak today, we have over 37 companies manufacturing different medical supplies aimed at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.
Following the UMA meeting resolution, CCBA decided to set up the necessary equipment at the Rwenzori Mineral Water facility to start producing sanitizers for use by its retailers across the country and staff which has now been certified by Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS). In partnership with Uganda Manufacturers Association and Bestpak manufactures of sanitizer bottles donated 10,000 bottles and together with CCBA will be contributing 2,500 litres sanitizers to the Ministry of Health.
“We decided to start producing and distributing sanitizers at no cost, with an end goal of reducing the demand on the open market and the pressure that had caused the prices to go up. In our production processes, we follow the WHO guidance on formulations to create effective hand sanitizers,” said Simon Kaheru.
According to Mr. John Tumwesigye, Trade Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs Manager at Movit Products Limited, the presence of covid-19 provided the lead to start manufacturing sanitizers, hand-wash and bacterial soap. “With our Technology capability, we were able to establish new production lines that enhanced the production of sanitizers. We follow the rules and regulations of the standards of UNBS, are certified and have the quality mark. We are the preferred choice of beauty, comfort and care products in every household thus strive to enhance everyday living” he revealed.
Daniel Birungi, the Executive Director, UMA applauded manufacturers like Coca-Cola Bottling Company Africa (CBBA), Movit Products Limited and the rest for their life changing innovations that have made a difference and improved lives during these unprecedented times.