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MPs Recommend Ending Contract with Chinese Company for PVoC Services

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mps recommend ending contract with chinese company for pvoc services
mps recommend ending contract with chinese company for pvoc services
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The House Committee on Tourism, Trade, and Industry has requested the termination of Helmsman Quality & Technology Services Ltd’s (HQTS) contract. HQTS, a Chinese company, is one of six firms engaged by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to offer Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) services.

Following a thorough examination by committee members at the company’s offices in Dubai and India, it was revealed that HQTS did not have offices in either location. Moreover, it was confirmed that the company lacked offices within Uganda itself.

Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Catherine Lamwaka, presented the findings during a plenary session on Wednesday, October 4, 2023. She stated, “The committee invited UNBS to respond to the issues and recommended a case-by-case assessment of all six companies. The eligibility criteria were not followed during pre-qualification by the technical evaluation committee. UNBS should terminate the contract with the company.”

Additionally, the report advised the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the awarding of HQTS’s contract, alleging fraudulent practices in the process.

UNBS had contracted other companies to inspect and verify goods in line with World Trade Organization requirements, including Bureau Veritas Uganda, Intertek International Limited, Quality Inspections and Services Inc. Japan, TUV Rheinland Middle East, and Societe General Desurveilance.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa suggested postponing the debate on the report for two weeks to allow MPs sufficient time to review the document. He also called for a further investigation into UNBS decisions and their alignment with directives from the trade ministry.

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, emphasized the need for close supervision of actions taken based on such reports to prevent fraudulent activities.

Trade Minister Hon. Harriet Ntabazi acknowledged leadership challenges within UNBS, attributing them to the issues at hand. She revealed that UNBS officials had been summoned to her office twice, instructing UNBS to re-procure two companies due to a matter before the PPDA Tribunal. She pledged to follow up on UNBS’s compliance with the PPDA Tribunal’s recommendations and indicated plans to meet with the UNBS Board of Directors regarding their decision to procure only one company for inspection services.