Director General, Standards Organization of Nigeria SON, Dr Joseph Odumodu, has said that the federal government needs to come up with a clear roadmap on exportation to effectively diversify the economy from the non- oil sector.
Odumodu, who stated when a team form United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO, paid him a courtesy visit recently in Abuja, however assured that with the partnership with UNIDO would enhance the implementation of the National Quality Policy to ensure that standards are provided for exports.
According to him, “government needs to have a clear direction on exports, especially in the exportation of the agricultural commodities to ensure that no product leave Nigeria without certification to prevent the embarrassment of rejection and to redeem the nation’s confidence in the international community”.
He noted that the partnership will ensure that the document on standard is put in place for the second quarter of this year to create the enabling environment for new investors to come in as well as local manufactures.
He said if the country wanted to promote non-oil export, it could not achieve the target by selling sub-standard commodities.
Odumodu said while Nigeria like other countries was focusing on agro business to earn revenue, its main challenge in the exportation of produce was that exporters never followed the law on standardization.
Lots of Nigerians are now exporting agricultural products but one of the challenges we have seen is that most of our commodities are not easily accepted in Europe.
Exporters send goods without testing them and once they get there and are tested, if the goods do not comply with the standard, it will be destroyed or sent back to Nigeria.
So such act gives the country bad image because it is negative news yet it is one person who tries to smuggle the product into that country,’’ he said.
Odumodu said Nigeria must clearly define the process for exporting agricultural products and put sanctions in place for defaulters.
I think what we need to do going forward is to create sanctions; there must be a clearly defined process for export of agricultural products.
Earlier, the Managing Director of UNIDO Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division, Mr. Philippe Scholtes, there are great potential in agro processing and that means that new companies will come into operations especially with quality police in place “.
He noted that, “We must first have the National Quality Policy to ensure that the policy is implemented, while calling for improve the standard on quality and also educate consumers on a need for the change of attitude to locally made products in the country.
” Ongoing projects include the National Quality Infrastructure project that helps ensure local products comply to relevant international norms and standards; the Staple Crop Processing Zone programme that supports the export of Nigerian processed agro-products; and the newly-established Investment Technology Promotion Office in Nigeria that works to attract foreign investment to the country, as well as to disseminate best practices and best technologies.
Scholtes said, “UNIDO works to support inclusive and sustainable industrial development and one important aspect is to find a way to help countries build their technology and, through skills development, to innovate and continue progressing”.
The meeting also highlighted such areas for continued collaboration as supporting the implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan, which helps boost the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, and the National Skills Gap Exercise, which aims to improve the labour market in Nigeria.