By Chioma Umeha
The first Deputy National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba
Lawson has said that enhancing the competitiveness of Nigeria’s products and services in the world market could help the country come out of the present economic recession.
The NACCIMA boss made this assertion at the opening ceremony of a training programme of Assessors for the Nigeria National Quality Awards.
She stressed that bigger countries like China and America, have once made it through economic recession simply by ensuring that the quality of the products going out of their country underwent proper assessment, just as she affirmed that Nigeria is also toeing same line with the incoming national quality awards.
She noted that the ongoing training which began on Monday in Lagos was in line with the National Quality Infrastructure Project for Nigeria (NQIP).
She admonished the participants to be “attentive, focus and open your minds to acquire needed knowledge to be impacted during the training”.
Lawson further advice them to appreciate the fact that “the integrity of the national award depends to a larger extent on the thorough and expertise delivery of the Assessor”.
According to her, if the country must create the desired awareness on quality and standards to build confidence on Nigeria’s goods, every detail must be considered and taken with utmost importance.
Throwing his weight behind Lawson, Dr. Shaukat Hussain, Lead Technical Adviser, UNIDO National Quality Infrastructure Project affirmed that this is the best time for the quality awards.
He added that the objective behind training the assessors was to train them on assessment techniques so that they can pass on the techniques to the various organisations under them.
He said the participants were drawn from personnel of accredited testing and certification bodies that have excelled in the first stage of the assessment of which NAFDAC has over six people who made it to the assessors’ level.
These assessors are therefore expected to pass down the knowledge acquired to the various manufacturers and service providers which they accredited and certified with the aim of entrenching quality culture throughout the country.
Those who started the training last year according to Hussain were 150 out of which only 50 were shortlisted to undergo the assessors training – 25 in Abuja and 25 in Lagos.
“This quality awards is very helpful in boosting the economy of a country, in 1951, Japan was in recession and they boosted their economy, in 1988, America and EU started this quality awards and they also boosted their economy, China also used the same method. So we thought it is the best time for Nigeria to start this quality award through EU funded project.
“We are hopeful that this quality award will boost the economy of this country because there are many criteria and if they adopt them, surely there will be a boost in the economy”, noted Hussain.
Lawson on her part appreciated the EU for funding the project and also the FG for taking the right decision just as she charged the assessors to be attentive, focused and open minded to acquiring the needed knowledge to be impacted during the course of the training, as the integrity of the awards depends on their expertise delivery.
“You must bear in mind that the integrity of the national awards depends to a larger extent on the thorough and expertise delivery of the assessor; thus, if we must create the desired awareness on quality and standards to build confidence, reliance on Nigeria’s goods and promote healthy competition among manufacturers and service providers using the awards system, every details must be considered and taken with utmost importance.”
The NQA come in different organisational categories: Category A(larger organisation) with 100 employees, Category B (medium organisation) with more than 20 to 100 employees and Category C (small organisation) those with one to 20 employees.
NQIP was established to support the development of the missing standards and accredited testing and certification bodies in order to improve the quality of products and services exchanged in the Nigerian, regional and international market.
In line with the NQIP objective, the National Quality Policy (NQP) was drafted, which included the provision to establish a National Quality Council (NQC).
The NQC became the independent and leading body entrusted with entrenching quality culture throughout the country and also in charge of developing and promoting overall sectoral quality initiatives and strategies; thus the National Quality Awards came to being as one of the strategies put in place to increase awareness on quality and standards, contribute to consumers’ confidence in Nigerian products and promote healthy competition among manufacturers and services providers.
Created in line with the ECOWAS region approved criteria for national quality awards, adopted at the 71st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS council of ministers in Abidjan and funded under the European Union’s
10th EDF Programme for Nigeria and implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in coordination with the Federal Government of Nigeria, Lawson affirmed that it is another landmark achievement towards that overall development of Nigeria.