By Brian Ankunda
A while ago I purchased a pocket projector on an online shopping website in Uganda.
The purchase took less than 2 minutes on my mobile phone, but it was a long 21 days as I eagerly waited for the gadget that would teleport my technological capacity into the modern age to arrive.
However, when my package finally arrived, the projector was not working.
Unfortunately, I did not test it at the point of collection and when I picked it up I was on my way out of town for work so I could not return it until 3 weeks later.
At this point, I was told that the return window for faulty goods had elapsed and there was nothing that the company could do for me.
The frustration I felt at that moment was beyond what words can describe. I cursed technology and the modern age and regretted why I had not just gone to a tech shop on Kampala Road and purchased what I needed.
This is the story of many people who have used online shopping, even though there are many others with happy endings.
The URA Taxpayers’ Appreciation Week that ended on September 27 had several SMEs showcasing different solutions at Kololo Independence Grounds and being the curious cat that I am, I decided to walk through and see what would catch my eye.
After walking for a while, I bumped into a stall showcasing a company I had previously only known for vehicle inspection. There it was, SGS Uganda.
Out of curiosity, I approached the exhibition and was greatly surprised to find that the solution being showcased had nothing to do with what I had previously known them for.
The Pre-Export Verification of Conformity Programme being implemented by SGS enables UNBS to have all the goods coming into Uganda inspected before they are shipped here.
My interest peaked as the gentleman explained how the Web Portal for the potential exporters to Uganda works; how they request for inspection, and how the Certificate of Conformity is issued after goods pass the standards inspection while they are still in the exporter’s country.
Everything is done online with the exception of the physical inspection.
UNBS has such confidence in this system of inspection that they renewed the SGS mandate for another 36 months earlier this year.
As I left Kololo, I dreamt of an alternate reality where the projector I ordered was inspected in its origin country before being shipped to me and all I had to do to confirm that it works was to look at the Certificate of Conformity from the inspection.
The writer is private Ugandan citizen.