ABUJA – The accreditation of Standards Organisation of Nigeria’s (SON) laboratories will stop the rejection of Nigerian commodities at the international market, says the minister of Industry, trade, and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga.
Aganga said this in Abuja on Thursday while being presented with the WHO/International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC) Certification by the SON’s Director-General, Dr Joseph Odumodu.
The Minister maintained that the years of rejection of Nigeria’s products at the international market were gone, adding, “We can no more export blindly, things have changed.
“We can now analyze, test and standardize our exports in line with international standards”.
Aganga said that Nigeria’s local products would henceforth enjoy high patronage at the global market, following the recent accreditation of SON’s Food Laboratory by the WHO.
The minister also noted that the international accreditation would further help the Federal Government to boost its effort towards diversifying the nation’s economy to the non-oil sector.
According to Aganga, the SON, under Odumodu, has achieved a lot within the past three years, and the issue of quality and standards have come to the front burner of national discourse, due to the spirited efforts of the SON management.
The minister said that with the international certification, local products, especially agro-based and agricultural produce, would no longer be pushovers or discounted at the global market because they would meet international conformity assessment criteria.
He said that the international accreditation of the SON laboratory would boost Nigeria’s chances of helping Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to produce WHO pre-qualified products.
Earlier, Odumodu said that with the ISO 17025 accreditation of the laboratories, Nigeria’s value-added agricultural exports– tested and certified by SON– would now be accepted worldwide without query.
While presenting the certificate to the Minister, Odumodu said the accreditation project, which was sponsored by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), has launched the SON’s facilities into the league of internationally recognized and respected laboratories.
He said this was a major boost to the country’s image and the agricultural transformation agenda of the Federal Government.
“For one thing, the development would enhance the implementation of the World Trade Organisation’s Sanitary and Physio-sanitary (SPS) and (TBT) Agreement, increase consumer confidence, especially on the international scale of made-In-Nigeria products”.
According to Odumodu, the accreditation will up the ante on the Buy-Nigeria campaign, and reduce the influx of sub-standard goods into the nation.
He noted that Nigeria has now become a reference point in the West African sub-region, as other countries would now lean towards Nigeria for their quality infrastructural development.
Also, Mr Segun Awolowo, the Director-General of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), described the accreditation as a game-changer for the country, as it would immensely lift the non-oil sector.
He said NEPC was one of the major beneficiaries of the feat, in that “Our problem with export is solved. ECOWAS has 60 per cent rejection of export commodities and, ironically, Nigeria was leading. But this is now history.” (NAN)