Nigeria through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has been selected to lead other West African Nations to pioneer the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States Quality Policy.
This selection was announced by the Secretary General, African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), Hermogene Nsengimana during a 2-day capacity building workshop on the Implementation of the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) in ECOWAS held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire recently.
Hermogene expressed the need to strengthen the regional effort in implementing the ECOWAS Quality Policy (ECOQUAL) in spite of the domestication of the National Quality Infrastructure by all member States in their respective countries.
This according to him, necessitated the initiation of a pilot program to be championed by the National Standards Boards of a select 8 member countries made up of Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana and Nigeria.
The ARSO Secretary General disclosed further that in recognition of Nigeria’s pole position in the implementation of its National Quality Policy, the Director General, SON Mr. Osita Aboloma was nominated as the Chairman and Coordinator of the pilot scheme, with the Chief Executives of Ghana Standards Authority and the Nigerien counterpart nominated as Vice Chairman and Secretary respectively.
In his acceptance speech, the DG, SON expressed Nigeria’s preparedness to partner with other ECOWAS member states in the newly initiated pilot scheme to bolster the ECOQUAL implementation of harmonized Standards, removal of technical barriers to trade, improve intra-regional and international trade, protect the consumer, the environment and reduce poverty through the promotion of sustainable economic development within the sub-region.
The SON helmsman said Nigeria’s selection was coming on the heels of its pole position amongst other ECOWAS states in putting in place a National Quality infrastructure for the nation. This according to him is largely attributable to efforts put in place by SON to articulate a National Quality Policy which was achieved in 2015 with the support of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Mr. Aboloma said Nigeria thus became the first nation in West Africa to put together a National Quality Policy document which according to him is currently awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria.
The SON Chief Executive disclosed that the status of the Nigerian Quality Infrastructure was at an advanced stage with a world class laboratory complex at Ogba, Lagos at 95% completion and a National Metrology Institute complex in Enugu also at an advanced stage of completion.
Others he said include, the ISO Quality Management System certification of SON, the international accreditation of some of its Laboratories and ongoing process of accreditation of its conformity assessment services including management systems training and certification.
ECOQUAL is a policy ratified by member states of ECOWAS at the Abuja accord in 2015 to harmonize standards of goods and services, balance trade and build capacity for regional testing and conformity assessment.
The program is being supported by ARSO, Afrexim Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.