ABUJA – The Federal Government on Monday confirmed that the European Union (EU) had supported Nigeria’s National Quality Infrastructure Programme (NQIP) with a grant of 12 million Euros ( about N259.2 million).
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, made the confirmation at the inaugural meeting of the project’s steering committee in Abuja.
NQIP is aimed at building trust for trade by the creation and maintenance of standards, measurement, and accreditation of globally acceptable laboratories, among others.
Aganga said that the country would work hard to justify the funding from the EU, explaining that the money was specifically allocated for the building of capacity for NQIP.
“For us, the process leading to the formation of a world-class quality infrastructure project that would moderate standards in the country is a game changer.
“We are in the process of making history and this administration must be given a chance.
“When you look at what present administration is doing to provide a firm foundation for the industrialisation of the country, it is natural that we attract this level of attention from our development partners.
“I recall when I was setting up the Sovereign Wealth Fund as Minister of Finance, the DFID played a major role in the financing, structure and principles and technical support for the fund,’’ he said.
According to him, they do that because they see the fund as a game changer; today, Nigerians see the fund as a game changer. [eap_ad_1] “For the first time, the SWF has been ranked at number two position in global ranking in terms of transparency and corporate governance,’’ Aganga said.
On NQIP, he said that a similar model which derived its functionality from transparency and corporate governance would be adopted.
He said that UNIDO and EU were development partners that had ensured technical and financial support for the project.
He pointed out that decades of absence of quality and standards in the country had cost the drain of huge revenues from the economy, saying “that is the reason we are where we are.”
“We are not mediocre but because we have not built the required institutional framework to support manufacturing, the non-oil sector remains stiff.
“Our products are not acceptable at international market owing to quality and standards; South Africa accounts for 75 per cent of non-oil export from Africa. We must brace up,’’ he said.
Aganga expressed optimism that at the end of this process when a new national quality infrastructure project would come on board, the country would take its pride of place.
On his part, Head of EU Delegation, Mr Michel Arrion, said that the provision of financial assistance for building national quality infrastructure for Nigeria was informed by the country’s strategic position in Africa.
Arrion, who is the EU Representative in Nigeria, said that it was the interest of the Union for similar project to be replicated in other countries in West Africa.
“EU has found Nigeria worthy to be assisted with 12 million euros, while another 16 million euros was given to ECOWAS to develop similar projects in other countries in the region.
“The global committee survives on quality and standard products and we are prepared to ensure that Africa and especially, Nigeria, produce quality products for its peoples and the world,’’ he said.
Earlier, the UNIDO Representative, Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Patrick Kormawa, said the organisation was responsible for the development of the framework and capacity for NQIP.
He, however, said the funding from the EU would be used to build the National Quality Policy, set up National Accreditation body for vetting and certification of products.
He added that the money would also be used to build National Meteorology Laboratory that would aid in providing acceptable measurement and weight values for products. (NAN)