The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) says it will continue to support the country in removing barriers to local, regional and international trade and ensure that ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ products are safe and marketable.
The organisation made this known at the Meeting of Regional Steering Committees of the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP) on Monday in Abuja.
Mr Bernard Bau, the WAQSP Project Manager at UNIDO, said with financial support of 12 million Euros from the European Union (EU), UNIDO aims to enhance trade facilitation in the country.
“UNIDO’s mandate is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable development in developing countries.
“UNIDO’s interventions with WAQSP aims to support the implementation of the ECOWAS Quality Policy adopted in 2013 by developing and strengthening a regional quality system.
“This will complement existing national quality system to existing quality infrastructure that allows companies to increase their competitiveness, ensure conformity of their products with international standards at limited cost,’’ he said.
Bau appealed to West African countries, especially Nigeria, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau that are yet to adopt the Regional Quality Policy to do, to ensure regional standardisation of goods.
He said that the Regional Quality Policy aims to create a regional product certification to mark quality goods produced within region, and certified them for regional and international trade.
Also, Mr Frank Okafor, the Programme Manager for WAQSP at the EU, said that the EU funding of development in West Africa was quite huge.
He said that in the EU’s current funding circle, spanning from 2016 to 2020, the union had provided about one billion Euros to the region for development assistance.
“Within this circle, the EU has provided 140 million Euros for the West African Competitiveness Support Programme that has national components in the 16 West African Countries.
“The EU also mobilised partnership between USAID, the Netherlands and the German Government to provide 60 million Euros to support trade facilitation in West Africa.
“Between 2007 and now, the EU has provided about 45 million Euros working directly with UNIDO to develop quality infrastructure in Africa.
“For this particular programme, the EU has provided 12 million Euros to support the implementation of WAQSP.
Okafor said that the goal of the EU is to make certain that in global trading, all goods no matter their country of origin have the same standard and are safe.
The main objective of the WAQSP, which began in 2001, is to support the development of quality infrastructures in West Africa.
The goal is to establish a regional quality policy, national quality policies, promote the adoption of regional standards, the accreditation of 21 testing and calibration laboratories in line with International Organisation Standards.