The Federal Government yesterday said the failure of manufacturers to conform to global standards in production and packaging explained why some Nigerian products were rejected in the international market.
This emerged yesterday during a non-oil export dialogue convened by the Policy Development Facility Phase 2 funded by UK Aids.
Agencies of the Federal Government including the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), stressed the need for potential manufacturers to seek adequate knowledge on the standard and specifications required at the international market.
The session brought together manufacturers, entrepreneurs, farmers and representatives of Chambers of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture across the country to explore ways of improving market access to Nigerian products being exported abroad.
The Coordinating Director of NAQS, Dr. Vincent Iseghe, noted that most countries spend more time inspecting Nigerian products imported because of the belief that the manufacturers didn’t conform to specifications.
Noting that Nigeria is on the high priority area of countries not conforming, he charged manufacturers to self-regulate and do the right thing.
“You should do what is right. It is good for you to have better access to the market. All we will do as regulatory agencies is to complement,” he said.
The representative of SON, Mrs. Mosun Salman, said product manufacturers would have easy access to the market if they comply with international standards.
“There is no way you will have problem in selling your products abroad if you conform to international standard,” she said, adding that SON had strengthened its facilities to provide qualitative services to Nigerians exporting products abroad.
Mrs. Mide Onabanjo, Technical Assistant to the DG of NAFDAC, tasked manufacturers to comply with global standards right from production level to ensure that products meet the specifications required in the global market.
A policy and development analyst, Dr. Olu Alaba, in his keynote address explained that conforming to standard is key to market access, adding that the World Trade Organization (WTO) encourages the harmonization of standards worldwide.
“Therefore, the standard in Nigeria must be comparable to the standard anywhere in the world. The principles must be the same. Conformity is key, you can’t compromise that.
“Our level of conformity in Nigeria has improved greatly but there is so much to be done and this requires collaboration between the public and reputable private institutions,” he said.