The establishment of functional National Accreditation Body would provide the requisite infrastructure to support the growth of the over 37 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, who disclosed this on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 7th African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) hosted by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Abuja, noted that lack of institutional accreditation body in the country have hindered access of goods and services to other countries of the world.
Mrs. Abubakar, said the benefits of the services to MSMEs cannot be over emphasised as they will enhance the competitiveness of their products, thereby create access to both domestic and international markets.
The minister, explained that the establishment of the body would guarantee speedy economic development of the country given the fact that SMEs form the bedrock of the economic development of most countries.
“This precarious situation espouses the compelling need for Nigeria and other African countries to take the necessary steps to diversify the economies and move away from over-dependence on primary commodities whose prices are usually at the whims and caprices of the international markets” she said.
In his welcome address, Acting Director General of SON, Dr Paul Angya, said establishing national accreditation bodies among member Nations in the continent to meet global recognition is a challenge that requires serious efforts.
Dr. Angya noted that the Organisation will continue to provide support for the implementation of National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) programme to overcome the challenges hindering business engagement with other countries.
“Establishing National Accreditation Bodies among member Nations in Africa; building the bodies capacity to an international recognised level of competence and putting n place mechanisms for the coordination of the operators of accreditation bodies that will be globally recognised International Accreditation Forum (IAF), International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), etc is a challenge that requires serious efforts.
AFRAC Chairman, Mr Ron Josias said the establishment of a national accreditation body in Nigeria would enable the country to deal with the threat of withdrawal of accreditation services for political and economic reasons by developed economies.
Mr Josias noted that this will provide Nigeria with the required platform to negotiate Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) among governments for mutual acceptance of test, inspection and certification agreements that would help save time and money for both exporters and importers.