By Raphael Jov, Abuja
As part of the desire of the United Kingdom (UK) for improved growth in trade and investment relations with Nigeria, a research delegation of the International Economic Development Group (ODI) is conducting a diagnostic study on the state of trade and investment between Nigeria and the UK.
This was disclosed when a United Kingdom trade delegation made up of Dr. Maximilliano Mendez-Parra and Kingsley Onyeka of ODI and Ilaria Chesa, Senior Trade Policy Adviser from the UK High Commission in Nigeria paid a study visit to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Operational Headquarters Lekki, Lagos on a fact finding interaction.
According to Mendez-Parra, “the UK government is passionate about issues that may be impeding access and the growth of trade and investment between the two countries. It is interested in finding solutions for trade issues, production and what products and services Nigeria may require from the UK”.
He maintained that meeting SON was very important, as “one of the recurrent issues in the whole of the EU and the UK inclusive is that of quality and compliance to standards by Nigerian products especially for supermarkets who require higher standards for products”.
Responding, the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma represented by Director Standards Development, Chinyere Egwuonwu (Mrs) expressed delight on the ongoing study on barriers to trade and investment between the two countries.
According to her, SON as a Standards body affiliated to international standardisation bodies like the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Codex Alimentarius Commission, International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) and other Continental and regional bodies elaborates standards in line with international principles to enhance trade.
The process, she said includes, adoption, harmonisation and domestication of these standards for implementation in Nigeria.
She described Standards as consensus documents developed through technical committees of experts and relevant stakeholders, stressing that they are germane for global competiveness of goods, services and trade across borders for manufacturers, producers, importers and exporters locally and across borders.
While acknowledging concerns on the non-compliance to standards of some locally manufactured goods particularly by MSMEs, Mrs Egwuonwu stated that SON has been focusing greater attention on such enterprises to develop their capacities to understand and implement standards and codes of practices in in order to eliminate trade barriers due to standards and quality.
Other diverse issues discussed during the meeting as impeding trade include, the lack of international accreditation of product certification schemes to ensure global recognition of the quality marks for products peculiar to Nigerians or Africans in diaspora.
In addition, discussion was held on consideration for a memorandum of understanding between the two countries in facilitating trade in raw materials and finished food products in line with the Codex Alimentarius Commission standards.
The meeting ended with a resolution on the urgent need for training and capacity building to boost inter-relationship for exporters and importers in both countries in order to facilitate greater trade and investment opportunities between Nigeria and the UK.