The Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), has been selected to lead other West African countries to pioneer the implementation of the Economic Committee of West African States Quality Policy.
The Head of Public Relations of SON, Mr Bola Fashina, made this known in a statement in Abuja.
Mr Hermogene Nsengimana, Secretary-General, African Organization for Standardization (ARSO), made the announcement during a two-day capacity building workshop on the Implementation of the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) in ECOWAS in Abidjan.
Hermogene expressed the need to strengthen the regional effort in implementing the ECOWAS Quality Policy (ECOQUAL) in spite of the domestication of the NQI by all member states in their respective countries.
This, according to him, necessitated the initiation of a pilot programme to be championed by the National Standards Boards of a select eight member countries.
The countries are Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana and Nigeria.
ECOQUAL is a policy ratified by member states of ECOWAS as the Abuja accord in 2015.
This is to harmonize standards of goods and services, balance trade and build capacity for regional testing and conformity assessment.
The programme is being supported by ARSO, Afrexim Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Hermogene said in recognition of Nigeria’s pole position in the implementation of its National Quality Policy, Director General of SON, Mr Osita Aboloma was nominated as Chairman and Coordinator of the pilot scheme.
Others are the Chief Executives of Ghana Standards Authority and the Nigerien counterpart nominated as Vice Chairman and Secretary respectively.
Meanwhile, Aboloma 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 and removal of technical barriers to trade.
According to him, it will also 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.
Aboloma said Nigeria’s selection was coming on the heels of its pole position amongst other ECOWAS states in putting in place NQI for the nation.
He said the selection was due to efforts put in place by SON to articulate a policy which was achieved in 2015 with the support of the European Union and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
Aboloma said Nigeria thus became the first nation in West Africa to put together a National Quality Policy document, which was currently awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria.
He said that the status of the NQI was at an advanced stage with a world class laboratory complex at Ogba, Lagos, adding that it was at 95 percent completion.
Aboloma said that the National Metrology Institute Complex in Enugu was at an advanced stage of completion.
He said ISO Quality Management System certification of SON, international accreditation of some of its laboratories and ongoing process of accreditation of its conformity assessment services, management systems training and certification were added advantage.
Amaka E. Nliam