Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says all hands must be on deck to eliminate limitations to product quality and technical barriers, while improving market acceptability of made-in-Nigeria products.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the vice president spoke at the opening session of the virtual “Open-Day with MSMEs” organised by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
He said improved quality was particularly important as Nigeria sought to expand its exports to the rest of Africa in the African Continental Free Trade Area, and to the rest of the world.
“Improving product quality is integral to market entry and market share; our failure to adhere to international standards for product quality will continue to limit the market acceptability of our products and poses the risk of rejection and non-acceptance of ‘Made in Nigeria’ products at home and abroad.
“We are fully aware that Nigeria’s aspirations for a highly competitive economy will remain unfulfilled if we do not create a business environment that is conducive for your businesses to thrive.
“ Among other factors, a friendly business environment engenders productivity while ensuring that products and services meet the highest standards.
“Further educate MSMEs on recent efforts to improve product standardisation, including the Nigeria National Standardisation Strategy (NNSS) document, and the National Quality Policy document.”
He said the National Standardisation Strategy released by SON in 2020 took cognisance of Nigeria’s priorities and served as a reference document in integrating standardisation needs.
Osinbajo said the National Quality Policy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) early in the year, would help reduce the infrastructural burden of meeting local and global quality requirements.
The vice president said that MSMEs accounted for approximately 48 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, MSMEs continue to play a vital role in providing jobs and keeping the economy running, despite economic challenges heightened by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
He also spoke on other MSMEs initiatives by the Federal Government.
“There are a plethora of programmes which this administration has specially curated to support MSMEs.
“Programmes such as the cross-cutting, systemic business climate reforms of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the National MSME Clinics, with provision of Shared Facilities Centres, some of which have been established in Benue, Lagos, and Anambra States, and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) to mention a few.
Osinbajo said the implementation of the ESP helped the economy to exit recession speedily by increasing the chances of survival of Nigerian MSMEs in the thick of the pandemic.
He added that the Federal Government was supporting MSMEs in the digital and creative sectors through collaboration with the African Development Bank on a 600 million dollars programme on Investing in Digital and Creative Enterprises.
“These interventions will not be sustainable if a deliberate culture of ensuring compliance with global standards and regulations to attain quality benchmarks is not inculcated.
“SON through its mandate as the National Standards body has the capacity to provide Nigerian MSMEs with the required support for the production of quality goods to make you competitive across Africa and globally,” he said.
Osinbajo commended the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and the Minister of State, Amb. Maryam Katagum and Director-General, SON, Malam Farouk Salim, for their efforts towards facilitating an enabling environment for MSMEs to thrive.
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