Ensuring quality Nigerian products and services always
It was quite an eye-opening experience at the just concluded training workshop organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organizations, UNIDO and National Quality Infrastructure Project, NQIP, because the training workshop has really broaden my knowledge and that of many other beneficiaries of the training, on the need for quality consciousness and infrastructure in Nigeria as well as sustainability of quality culture.
At the action-packed 3-day training with the theme: “Evolving Quality Culture for Media Professionals within the context of Quality in Nigeria Trade and Industry sector”, UNIDO-NQIP experts enlightened participants on national quality infrastructure, quality management system, food safety and international certification standards (ISO).
We should all realize the fact that imbibing the culture of quality in all things we do is part of good governance, greater economy beyond oil and better life for all.
From the training, we were made to understand the essence of excellence with a practical field trip to an indigenous small scale firm already certified for following quality standards, Rhabe Nigeria Ventures in Ikeja, Lagos.
With the basic knowledge on quality infrastructure, principles, benefits and meaning of quality management systems, implementation and training centres with emphasis on ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 22000, participants learnt about accreditation and conformity assessment, its relevance to national development as well as the need to change the status quo of business as usual while conform to global best practices.
A lot is now known about Nigeria National Accreditation Service (NiNAS) and its relevance to standardization.
Without much ado, we must all seriously imbibe the culture of producing products and rendering services that meet customers’ and regulatory agencies’ requirements in all ramifications; environmental management systems, waste reduction, food safety management system and adherence to standards among others.
It is a well-known fact that our nation is currently losing billions of naira in revenue; meanwhile, if the concerns of quality infrastructure are addressed, there will be a boost in revenue generation from export. And the challenge of Nigeria export rejection will be surmounted thus attaining the status of a healthy and export compliant/friendly country among comity of nations.
Nigeria should urgently ratify and adopt the National Quality Policy as well as make adequate provision to take full ownership of the National Quality Infrastructure Project. Also, there should be an annual National Standards Summit where international and local stakeholders deliberate on standards and quality in Nigeria.
In addition, food safety measures should be reinforced by manufacturers, regulators and policy makers in line with global best practices while public institutions should be more alive to their responsibilities in promoting standards for locally produced goods.
We believe this very beneficial training will be a continuous exercise with regular capacity building training for Journalists, Editors and media owners.
In order for us to achieve the desired goals and objectives, there should be collaboration between the regulatory agencies for quality control in Nigeria while relevant public institutions should be strengthened in the fight against smuggling of substandard goods in the country.
Since implementation and enforcement are part of our problems in this country, enforcement of laws for violators of quality standards should be very strict and truly working.
According to all UNIDO resource persons at the training workshop, Dr. Shaukat Malik, Stephen Cross, Ibrahim sustained national quality infrastructure will make Nigeria equals the international best practices in trade procedures and other engagements relating to goods and services.
Currently Nigeria records 6.5% compliance on countries global certification index conducted by the United Nations in 2014.
Already, UNIDO had put in place, a policy and institutional framework currently being implemented to ensure that Nigeria meet up with other countries that had scaled the business and economic hurdles at the international scene. And we must be truly implementing best international practices to access globally acceptable trade facilitation.
Speaking on the need for the media to join the campaign to broaden the horizon of the policy, Mrs Makanjuola, who is the Technical Advisor to UNIDO, said that though mediocrity was becoming an accepted norm in the face of dire economic circumstances, this, unfortunately should not be if quality is available because everybody deserves the best.
“The EU is funding the project, UNIDO is implementing. Implementation of the project has a cycle. After the cycle do we as Nigerians deserve Quality continuously? Or do we just jettison quality to revert to mediocrity?
She urged media practitioners to disseminate and preserve quality culture, to be vanguards of quality in the conscience of a nation striving for quality – translating to better life for us all.
“India wants to trade over $100 million worth of beans – of course it must be quality. Europe wants Nigerian beans, melon, yams etc. the world want Nigeria’s produce. They must be quality, Nigeria’s Soya represent some of the best grade in the world – but must go out as quality. Virtually everything grows here but must be traded in quality mode” she concluded.
As journalists, we have great roles to play in sustaining quality and creating awareness among the people. But for all citizens generally, we must ensure we pass on the message and demand for the best always.