The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has so far certified 6 local companies to produce non-medical facemasks, out of the 54 companies that have so far applied for certification.
A statement issued by the standards regulator states that as of May 29, six Ugandan companies had been certified.
This, UNBS says, is in line with its mandate of consumer protection, aimed at protecting Ugandans from buying substandard non-medical facemasks which could be harmful to their health, in the wake of COVID-19.
As government begins gradual easing of a lockdown that has lasted 2 months, the President recently declared that all people will be required to wear masks in public. This will be done along other preventive measures like social distancing in restaurants, markets, public transport and other public places.
In his recent national address on Covid-19, President Yoweri Museveni said government will give out free face masks to all Ugandans above the age of 6. This is aimed at ensuring Ugandans use masks that meet the required standards and are therefore effective in protecting the users from the Coronavirus disease.
The companies so far certified by UNBS to produce masks include; Lida Packaging Products Ltd, Southern range Nyanza Limited, Evergreen Safaries Limited, Jude Color Solutions Limited, Winfred Fashion Designers Limited and Fine Spinners Limited.
This week, President Museveni launched Lida Packaging Products Ltd, which has a capacity of producing 52,000 face masks daily.
Situated in Mukono, the $5m factory makes non-medical face masks are three-ply with the inner ply being a waterproof material while the medical face masks are four-ply and all waterproof.
Lida Packaging Products Ltd is already exporting 50,000 face masks daily to neighbouring Kenya.
Its production capacity will increase to 560,000 face masks daily once two additional production lines are completed in about two weeks’ time, Lee said. Plans are also underway to start production of 50,000 surgical masks known as KN-95 daily.
The factory employs 315 Ugandans, 220 of which are women, with plans underway to employ even more when the additional production lines are completed.
UNBS says it is also giving out free non-medical facemask standards to aid certification of facemask manufacturers and mass production of non-medical facemasks that meet the national quality standards.
“So far, 55 companies have applied for certification, thus, the number of companies certified to manufacture non-medical facemasks is expected to increase. UNBS will therefore issue updated lists periodically,” UNBS said.