With the commissioning of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)’s Chemical and Food Technology Laboratories in Lagos recently, experts said that Nigeria’s agricultural products would no longer suffer rejection at the global market.
Before now, Nigeria has to depend on neighbouring country, Ghana to export products to the world, because the country’s products faced rejection in international market with statistics showing that Nigeria recorded the highest number of 102 rejects in the global market when compared with other countries in the African continent between 2012 and 2013.
But with the SON’s recently commissioned laboratories, non-oil exports have received a major boost as products after being tested and certified by the SON will no longer be subjected to any kind of testing anywhere in the world. The laboratory, according to SON, will help to prevent huge financial losses the country had lost over the years. The SON achieved the feat late 2014, following the International laboratory Accreditation Corporation (ILAC)’s unprecedented testing and accreditation which represents a high water marks in efforts towards boosting the non-oil sector not only for Nigeria’s economy but that of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Indeed, the effective utilisation of the internationally accredited microbiology laboratory is expected to mitigate a potential loss of about $6.9 billion projected to be incurred from rejections of export items by developing countries to developed nations this year as projected by a recent World Bank report. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, during the commissioning of the laboratory, expressed delight, saying that the laboratory’s accreditation was in the process of being expanded to cover areas of micro nutrient, cable, refrigeration and cement construction materials. Aganga stressed that the laboratory is an integral part of the national quality infrastructure which the federal government is building for the country.
“It is a shame that as a nation after 50 years, we never had one and this is what this administration is leaving behind. For the first time in history, we now have a quality policy which took us a long time,” he said. He added that the plummeting oil price is a wakeup call as a country, saying that the nation can no longer depend on one product for foreign exchange.
According to Minister the for a mono-product economy has gone, adding that this was why the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) was launched to create value addition to all the nation’s commodities. The Director General, SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu said the new laboratory will put an end to Nigerian goods being rejected in the international market, saying that the laboratory is for a specific competence which boasts of conducting chemical and biological testing for agricultural products in the country.
He said it was the first time a Nigerian laboratory was accredited, maintaining that it was worth celebrating because it will save the economy a lot of cost from the nation’s goods being destroyed and rejected at the foreign markets. He urged SMEs to take advantage of this golden opportunity to push their products to the world, pointing out that the laboratory is coming at a time when some of the country’s agricultural products do not meet global standard and competitiveness.
He said Nigeria has now entered a stage which he called the map for world quality” due to the recent launch of the laboratory Meanwhile, Chairman, Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko said the significance of SON’s world class food and chemical laboratories is very pivotal to the nation’s rapid economic development, particularly now that the manufacturing and agricultural sectors are being focused on as part of economic diversification.