Mr Filippo Amato, Counsellor and Head of Trade and Economic Section of the European Union delegation to Nigeria, has commended the Federal Government for its efforts to address exportation challenges.
Amato made the commendation in an interview in Abuja.
According to him, EU is assisting the Nigerian authorities with funding and capacity building under its National Quality Infrastructure programme, which was implemented by UNIDO.
“Nigeria is already making efforts to improve quality and standards of products locally produced and the EU is providing support.”
“High standards and quality are not only important for exports but also for the health and satisfaction of the Nigerian consumers.”
“A culture of quality is gradually emerging in Nigeria. For instance, a Nigeria National Quality Award has recently been launched under the National Quality Infrastructure programme co-funded by the EU.”
“As long as this culture of quality will consolidate, exporters will be forced to adapt. The role of the Nigerian authorities to monitor and ensure the compliance with international standards is also very important,’’ Filippo said.
He said that the categories of products rejected in 2016 at the EU border were not 24 as speculated in the media but six.
Amato named the rejected products as melon seeds, dried beans, groundnuts, ginger slices, shrimps and crayfish and smoked catfish.
“However, some of these products were rejected more than once. Overall the rejections were 24, but for instance 11 of these rejections concerned always melon seeds.”
“The reasons of rejections were various illegal imports, absence of health certificate, improper packaging,’’ he said.
According to him, Nigeria has been for long time, focusing on export of oil and gas products, but things are changing and processes are being designed to overturn this trend.
He said “although it might take some time for the trend to change dramatically, the process has started.”
“I am optimistic that in the medium and long term, Nigeria will no longer be known only as an exporter of crude oil or raw materials, but also as an exporter of many processed goods spanning from agribusiness to garments’’.
Mr Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, said the Federal Government had developed “Conduits of Excellence (CoE)’’ to ensure consistent and stringent quality management for all exportable products.
Awolowo said the committee set up by the Federal Government for the realisation of the objective would also develop the code of practice and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for production and processing of selected products.