Nigeria cannot diversify the economy without quality, says Minister

Nicholas Kalu, Abuja

 

As the country seeks to diversify the economy, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo, says this cannot be achieved unless the quality of goods and services are guaranteed.

Speaking at a validation workshop in Abuja organized by the Ministry in conjunction with the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) on the Nigeria National Quality Policy, the Minister said, “Whatever we are going to do and whatever policy objective that we seek to achieve, without quality, we are going nowhere.”

The workshop was supported by the World Bank Group, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United States Pharacopeial (USP).

Represented by the Director of Trade in the Ministry, Aliyu Abubakar, he said the draft policy was submitted to the last Federal Executive Council, but as a result of some issues, they had to return the policy for them to do due diligence.

“So this validation and all the processes that have been done is actually to achieve the due diligence necessary and for every stakeholder to have his input so that at the end of it all we have an accepted and agreed national quality policy, which will dovetail into all the national policy objectives that we have set for ourselves, whether it is for the diversification of the economy, because without quality, you cannot diversify. Even if you are thinking sustainable development of the economy, without quality, nothing can be achieved. So from the standpoint of the Ministry this is the assurance when it comes to trade.

“We on our own part at the level of the Ministry would make sure that we do the needful. Consulting with all the stakeholders to ensure we have their buy-in before the policy gets back to the Federal Executive Council because we don’t want a repeat of what happened before. We have to take the policy the finish line,” he said.

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Director General of the Nigeria National Accreditation Service (NiNAS), Celestine Okanya, a driver of the process, said the draft Nigerian National Quality Policy seeks to ensure that every product our service produced, offered or imported into the country good, safe and healthy.

“We want to be sure that every product or service either produced, manufactured or imported into this country is good for the people, is safe and healthy. If it manufactured or produced here, we can confidently sell it to foreign countries without rejection. We are diversifying our economy and to do that we need a good quality system. This is why we need a national policy on quality.

“We didn’t have a national quality policy. Work began on the policy in 2013 and then it was UNIDO that was implementing national quality infrastructure programme funded by the European Union. That draft went through a lot of processes until 2017, it was validated and after that validation, the private sector where not comfortable with it, because of the issues we highlighted already. They needed it to be reviewed and upgraded and that is what we have done now in this copy.

“From enhanced quality policy that we are validating today, as a consumer, as buyer of any product, or you seek services from anybody, you are now rest assured that we have a plan in place to ensure that whatsoever you buy, or whatsoever services, you contract from somebody, you must get value for your money. Today we are struggling with things that are fake and adulterated and nobody is held responsible. Now, this policy is holding all of us responsible. Those of us in positions of authority in government, those of us that are importers, exporters, distributors and even sellers in the shops,” Okanya said.

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