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Stakeholders in the non-oil export sector of the Nigerian economy in the South-East region have appealed to the Federal Executive Council to sign into law the National Quality Policy to benchmark quality standards in the country.
They observed that such a policy would boost quality and competitiveness of Nigerian products in the local and international markets.
The stakeholders made the appeal in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, at the 1st Regional Non-Oil Export Dialogue, for Southeast organised by Policy Development Facility (PDF) 11 programme.
PDF 11 is funded by the UK Aid Department for International Development (DFID) to support Federal Government to implement reforms that lead to poverty reduction.
They observed that Nigeria was the only country in the world promoting industrialisation without a quality policy in place.
Chukwuma Ogbonna, a trade expert and panellist at the forum, stated that without a quality policy the country cannot achieve industrialisation.
He urged state governments in the South-East to key into the National Quality Policy, which he observed was their road map on industrialisation and trade.
“The problem we are having about export is the technical barriers to trade. If we don’t get those technicalities that go with trade, right, we won’t industrialise.
“We must put into consideration the political economy of the system. Our political economy is such that those countries that want to take products from us, concentrate more on raw materials or the semi processed products, they don’t go the whole hug of helping you develop the value chain. If you develop the value chain that means that export from their home countries would stop. These are areas that have to be looked into by the South-East Governors.
“We have helped the South-East governors to draft a document for South-East Quality Association, under the Governor’s forum, to bring them together to have a common policy drive,” he revealed.
Humphrey Ngonadi, chairman, Association of Anambra Chambers of Commerce, commended governors of the South-East region, but urged them to forge a common front to solve challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the region.
“The governors and the government’s in the South-East, these days are giving us some hope for a better tomorrow. But I feel that they should forget their party differences and begin to think more of things that concern the region.
“They should come together and have a common front to solve problems that confront the region. If the Governors unite, they will have a good voice to speak to the federal government over some of the issues that we are discussing here.
“These issues include non-functional seaports in the South-East/South-South regions, disparity in electricity tariff, bad road network, insensitivity of regulatory agencies towards manufacturers, among others.”
The national quality policy will give the scope and set the boundaries for the regulators, stakeholders, products and services that businesses and society get in the final analysis in terms of quality predicated on management systems, operating environment and human resources development as well as the institutions that drive best standard practices and growth.
Essentially, a National Quality Policy is an official national document adopted in agreement with the public and private sector operators and which sets objectives on quality and technical regulations.
Lack of National Quality Policy means everyone acting according to the whims, which has been the bane of the Nigerian society, by and large and suspected to be responsible for the poor state of business performance and National Quality Infrastructure, weak regulations and imbalanced international trade relations currently dogging the nation.
In fact, a National Quality Policy is vital to good governance because it is the foundation of quality of life of citizens.