Nigeria has lacked an internationally recognized quality infrastructure which would ensure the safety, integrity and marketability of goods and services and remove technical barriers to local, regional and international trade. To address this, the National Quality Infrastructure Project (NQIP) for Nigeria was launched in 2013. The project was funded by the European Union and implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in close cooperation with the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The overall objective of the project, was to support the enhancement of the national quality infrastructure. While others are:

· To strengthen the FMTI and LGA to improve the business/investment climate for SMEs (implemented by GIZ).

· To support the development of the missing standards and quality control bodies and encourage improvement of the quality of products and services exchanged in the Nigerian markets (implemented by UNIDO).

· To support effective management of trade policy and trade facilitation.

· To improve business and investment climate in Nigeria.

· To provide support for the setting-up of a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI).

Over the past five years, significant progress has been made towards achieving the project objectives. In particular, NQIP assisted with the development of a national policy on quality standards which provided the framework for the effective operation of national quality control bodies, gave guidance to private sector operators and guaranteed the principles of safety and protection for consumers. The full implementation of the policy will enable Nigerian manufacturers and companies to increase their regional and global exports and contribute towards enhancing the “Made in Nigeria” image on local markets. At the same time, this will improve the international viewpoint of Nigeria as a preferred destination for investment and for situating integrated global business operations in the country.

Another focus of the NQIP is the enhancement of the capacity of national laboratories. The project carried out a laboratory mapping exercise to identify the existing testing and calibration services in the non-oil sector. As a result, an innovative online database of national testing and calibration laboratories was launched in 2015 and upgraded in 2016, enhancing significantly the visibility and brand recognition of Nigerian laboratories.

In addition to that, the project had an impact on creating new professional qualifications and job opportunities. Relevant training programmes were carried out; equipping hundreds of national staffs with the technical capacities needed to undertake quality assurance tasks. Over 300 professionals were trained; and now qualified to perform tasks under ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems) and ISO 22001 (Food Safety Standards). With the help of these professionals, nine local companies are able to perform certification for businesses.

NQIP also focused on diffusing ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 22001 among the OPS members. In this respect, an increased number of certifications have been witnessed in the country. Likewise, the enhancement of national increased number of certifications have been witnessed in the country. The enhancement of national quality institutions has had a positive impact on cutting the cost of accreditation and certification services, making them more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This trend is expected to continue in order to satisfy the need of Nigerian enterprises to access international markets for export purposes and the need to diversify the economy from oil and gas.

Other achievements include the development of standard operating procedures; “Conduits of Excellence”, in order to achieve zero export rejection on Nigerian agro-products, in particular dried beans. This will enable Nigerian manufacturers to improve the quality and value of their goods and services, and subsequently enable them to become more competitive in the domestic and international markets.

Several agencies immensely benefited from the project, which includes; the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Weights and Measures Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Conformity Assessment Bodies (including private CABs), organized private sector (NACCIMA, MAN, NASME, etc.), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Consumers Protection Council (CPC) and Consumer Associations.

As this Case Study shows, the contributions of the NQIP on the Nigerian economy can’t be over-emphasized, the establishment of quality assurance institutions and the development of standard operating procedures of the NQIP contributes to infrastructure upgrading and enhancement of the investment climate in the non-oil sectors by supporting the development of national quality infrastructure and regulations. The measures being implemented are contributing to improvement of the quality of Nigerian products and services and reduction of certification costs, which is resulting in an increased economic competitiveness of Nigerian goods and services on the domestic, regional and international markets and, at the same time, leading to new investment and employment opportunities. Herewith, the project contributes significantly towards the achievement of SDGs in Nigeria.

Dr. Franklyn Akinyosoye, ISO 9001, 22000 and 14001 certified, mIOD, CMD, BDSP.

Similar Posts