UNIDO helping Nigeria to improve standard of export commodities — Official

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Enugu  –  The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) says it has helped Nigeria develop a National Quality Policy aimed at improving the competitiveness of Nigerian commodities locally and internationally.

Mr Charles Malata, UNIDO’s Chief Technical Adviser on National Quality Infrastructure Project, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Enugu.

According to Malata, the policy is now awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

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“The idea is to improve competitiveness of Nigerian commodities on the local market and also on the export market.

“Now, looking at the competitiveness we are looking it from the angle of quality and standards and we are looking at what are the support services that are needed in order for the quality and the standards of these commodities to be considered comparable to those of international best practices.

“Now it is a number of things that have to be looked at; we started with looking at the policy itself (National Quality Policy).

“And we’ve developed the National Quality Policy; it is now awaiting the Federal Executive Council’s approval.

“We have looked at the technical regulations that regulate or give powers of operation to the many MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) that are working on the issues of quality and standards.

“Particularly, we are focusing on ensuring that there is co-ordination, continued sharing of information.

“Over and above that, on the more technical aspect of the services itself; we have established a national accreditation service.

“This is for the first time in Nigeria – a body that would accredit those who have laboratories for testing their products, they can now issue certificates once they have been accredited.

“They can issue certificates that are recognised internationally.

“Meaning, once our products have been tested here locally, they would not be re-tested abroad; but also more importantly, the testing would be in line with international best practice.

“Meaning, there would be no rooms for errors, no rooms for mistakes, which may cause rejection of these commodities.’’

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Malata said UNIDO and European Union (EU) were worried over the failure of the country’s export products to meet international market standard.

The chief technical adviser also said UNIDO and EU had earmarked €3m (nearly N650 million) for the equipping of the National Metrology Institute (NMI), Enugu.

“I believe it is in the region of over €3m but that also includes training for some of the personnel that would be operating in the metrology (institute).

“I don’t have the figure off-head (off-hand) but from my record I know we have almost five components.

“And metrology have about €3m (approximately N650 million).’’

Malata urged the Federal Government to speed-up the completion of the ongoing NMI institute project to help improve the standard of the country’s export commodities.

He expressed the desire of EU and UNIDO to see that Nigeria took the issues of standards and calibration seriously to check wastage in freight, man-power, foreign exchange and commodities. (NA

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