The federal government has established the National Quality Council (NQC) as part of efforts to tackle and mitigate the persistent rejections of Nigeria’s export products in the international market “which has now become an emergency.”
The council is established to promote enhanced development, harmonisation and rationalisation of Nigeria’s quality infrastructure.
Osita Aboloma, chairman/chief executive of the NQC, who stated this in Abuja recently, said that the various legs of the quality infrastructure, namely standards development, metrology, conformity assessment, and accreditation require urgent harmonisation and rationalisation.
These, he said, would ensure cost-effectiveness and efficiency in support of the acceptance of Nigeria’s export products around the world.
Responding to questions on the recent assertion by Mojisola Adeyeye, director general of NAFDAC, that 70 percent of Nigeria’s food exports are rejected in Europe and America, Aboloma substantiated the statement, stating that sanitary and phytosanitary requirements are some of the key issues to be surmounted to avoid the constant rejects.
The SPS requirements according to him, are quarantine and biosecurity measures applied to protect human, animal, and plant life or health risks arising from the introduction, establishment, and spread of pests and diseases as well as from the use of additives, toxins, and contaminants in food and feed.
Aboloma inferred a recent report of Nigerians shipping goods to Ghana for certification to enhance export value as being unacceptable, stressing that the solution lies in accelerated development, rationalisation and harmonisation of the nation’s quality infrastructure for optimum value addition.
He stressed the need for greater synergy amongst organisations and institutions in the public and private sectors, hosting the National Quality Infrastructure as well as greater awareness creation for operators along the export value chain.
According to him, NQC was created to implement the letters and spirit of the approved Nigerian National Quality Policy (NNQP) document which provides for efficient and effective management of regulatory responsibilities to achieve the protection of society and the environment as well as transparent and reliable state-regulatory systems, devoid of bureaucratic vagaries.
Others, he said, include the provision of a supportive National Quality Infrastructure, which consists of Standards, Metrology, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment Services that must be acceptable globally to enhance the competitiveness of products and services made in Nigeria.
Aboloma explained that standards serve as benchmarks for products and service quality; metrology ensures accuracy of measurements in the industry for both equipment and products; accreditation assures mutual recognition of competencies in Nigeria across borders while conformity assessment entails inspection and testing of products to meet destination requirements.