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FG moves to curb export rejects, unlock benefits of AfCFTA

Perspective: Why Africa needs to embrace the AfCFTA

The Federal Government has assured that the National Quality Council will curb cases of export rejects, while positioning Nigeria to harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Osita Aboloma, chairman of the council stated this during a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

The establishment of the council was part of measures put in place by the government to tackle and mitigate the rejection of Nigeria’s export products in the international market as well as enhance the development, harmonisation and rationalisation of Nigeria’s quality infrastructure.

According to Aboloma, the council was created to implement the letters and spirit of the approved Nigerian National Quality Policy 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.

Read also: AfCFTA participation: Wider Perspectives to train 50 women in standard business practices

He said the agency was poised to provide a supportive national quality infrastructure, consisting of standards, metrology, accreditation and conformity assessment services that are acceptable globally to enhance the competitiveness of products and services made in Nigeria.

He said, “We plan to have a national discourse across the country where we will be discussing the details of the National Quality Policy, how it affects the various sectors of the economy and how it will improve our economy

“We will also be doing gap analysis that will look at gathering data for every laboratory that exists in Nigeria whether government or privately owned, what they are testing and their capacity for those tests, do they have international accreditation, would their result be accepted in Togo for example since we are talking about AfCFTA.

Read also: NACCIMA says AfCFTA presents opportunity for business expansion, wealth creation

“When we analyse where the gaps are, we can properly advise the government on what needs to be done in the short term, medium term and long term to ensure that trade and commerce within Nigeria, with our neighbouring countries and the rest of Africa and globally, is going to be to the benefit of Nigeria.

“Those activities will generate jobs for the country, boost economic growth and increase exports for Nigeria. So, it is the working of the National Quality Infrastructure that will guarantee business to function well and the products they are producing are giving people value for their money.”

Speaking further, Aboloma explained that without adhering to international standards, the country may not be able to enjoy the benefits of the AfCFTA, as products from Nigeria will continue to suffer rejection due to non-conformity with standards.

The AfCFTA is a bloc of over 1.3 billion people which was ratified in 2021 by over 47 African nations as of August last year.