What you need to know about the NITA-U I.T. Certification Scheme
1.What is certification?
Certification is a procedure by which a third party attests that a product, process or service conforms to the specified requirements. The specified requirements are laid out by the relevant standard(s) against which the product, process or service is certified.
2. What is the NITA-U Information Technology (I.T) certification scheme?
The NITA-U I.T. certification scheme is a collection of conformity assessment procedures applied to four domains in the I.T sector of Uganda. These include:
a) I.T service providers
b) I.T products
a) I.T training institutions
b) I.T professionals (only as part of the IT Service Providers and IT Training Institutions)
3. What do I need to get certified?
The NITA-U certification scheme will have three levels of conformity assessment. The three levels are designed to help guide prospective clients step by step to certification. These include:
a) Level 1 which requires prospective clients to legally register their businesses and professionals according to well established legal and technical procedures.
b) Level 2 which requires prospective clients to fulfil the requirements of level 1 but also provide or demonstrate proof of experience in successfully completing technical contracts awarded to them and also provide proof of existence of tools, equipment and infrastructure to carry out specific works
c) Level 3 which is certification against a specific standard e.g. ISO/IEC 20000, ISO 9000, etc.
4. What is the procedure?
The procedure will involve seven major steps as shown below:
Step 1: Applicant registers on the Web portal
Step 2: Applicant receives secure access to login
Step 3: Applicant filling online application
Step 4: Application checked for completeness
Step 5: Payment of certification Fees
Step 6: Inspection or audit
Step 7: Evaluation of audit results
Step 8: Granting certificate to qualified applicants
NOTE: A company may decide to apply directly for a level 2 certificate or for level 3 that is, certification directly. In both cases the company must fulfil the requirements of level 1 and level 2 respectively.
5. Are IT Professionals being certified individually?
No, IT professionals will only be assessed as part of certification of IT Service Providers or Training Institutions to establish their level of competence and expertise.
6. The conformity assessment procedures are aimed at ensuring that:
a) Compliance to relevant standards is demonstrated to provide quality assurance to stakeholders.
b) Consumer protection
c) The business community is protected from unfair competition due to sub-standard products and services
d) Professionals and service providers that meet the requirements of relevant standards are recognized nationally and internationally
e) Value for money for IT products and services provided to government and the private sector
f) The I.T sector is regulated within the country.
7. What will it cost to get certified?
The costs for the different levels of certification vary according to the work required to verify and authenticate the applications of the different entities as well as costs involved in inspection.
8. For how long is my certification valid?
Certification is valid for 3 years from the date of certification. This applies for level 3. However for level 1 and level 2 the entity is given 18 months to move to the next level.
During this time surveillance to ensure that the terms and conditions upon which certification was granted are not violated is carried out. In addition a modest annual fee is paid by the entity seeking certification.
9. Which entity will carry out the certification activities?
The certification activities will be carried out by CyberQ India in conjunction with a local Partner on behalf of NITA-U.
10. Who will NITA-U Partner with in implementing the Certification Scheme
(a) Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA)
(b) Ministry of Education & Sports and its Agencies
· National Council of Higher Education (NCHE)
· National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC)
· Directorate of Industrial Training Developing Vocational Training (DIT)
· Business, Vocational and Technical Training (BTVET)
(c) Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)
(d) Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS)
11. What are the benefits of certification?
The benefits of certification include the following:
a) Certification helps to win client/consumer confidence translating to higher or increased market share.
b) Certification helps to create a better image for a country’s products, services and institutions. In addition certified professionals are better recognized both locally and internationally.
c) Certification helps to protect the image and reputation of the manufacturer of products.
d) The certification scheme helps to provide a means of technically auditing products, services and process control procedures hence tightening technical regulation of the I.T sector while at the same time ensuring value for money.
e) It provides protection from unfair competition hence promoting fair trade practices which are favourable for foreign direct investment.
f) Certification provides a step by step learning process for companies and individuals which leads to growth in efficiency, professionalism and quality assurance all of which lead to the sustainable growth of the IT sector.
g) Certification promotes the implementation of industry best practices hence ensuring health, safety and protection of the environment.
12. Is certification a technical barrier to trade?
Ideally, certification is supposed to promote a given brand or product and service by demonstrating that the particular brand, product or service meets requirements of specific standards.
Seen from this perspective certification promotes trade by demonstrating quality of products or brands and services.
A technical barrier to trade may arise when costs are prohibitive to most stakeholders especially smaller stakeholders or processes and procedures take too long to be completed hence increasing the cost of doing business.
The certification scheme has provided for reasonable fees and favourable timelines to ensure that all activities are completed in a timely manner or as soon as possible.
13. Where can more information be obtained?
For more information contact:
NITA-U Headquarters: Palm Courts, Plot 7A, Rotary Avenue (Former Lugogo Bypass)
By Post: P. O. Box 33151, Kampala, Uganda
By Phone: +256 417 801 038