The Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (FMITI) on Tuesday, listed the requirements for Nigeria to fully benefit from Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The ministry said that for Nigeria to benefit maximally from the AfCFTA, its goods must be produced with high standard and with equity in mind.
Mr Emmanuel Ebukanson, the South-South Coordinator, Department of Weights and Measures, FMITI, made the call in Calabar at a one-day sensitisation workshop organised by the ministry.
The workshop was with the theme: “How Nigeria Will Leverage on the AfCFTA Treaty and the National Quality Policy Implementation – Weights and Measures Perspective’’.
Ebukanson said that the core value of weights and measures “is equity’’.
He described the Department of Weights and Measures as very important because it regulates the activities of producers thereby enforcing accurate measures.
“Measurements are involved in most trade transactions and in order to ensure fairness to all parties, they must be able to be considered as acceptable.
“The acceptability of a fair financial transaction is a product of the accuracy of weights and measures of goods, this is where Weights and Measures as a department comes in,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Geoffrey Jwan, the Assistant Director, Legal Metrology, FMITI, Abuja, said that consumers of goods and services would naturally patronise quality goods and services in the market at optimum prices.
Jwan said that the quality of goods or services could be guaranteed only when accurate and reliable weighing or measuring instruments were used to carry out the measurement of raw materials during their production process.
He said that goods and services that meet the acceptable quality standards would be accepted not only in Africa, but also world-wide thereby enhancing profitability chances, economic and industrial growth of the country.
“Nigeria, being one of the few African countries with economic potential, will earn more income from trading with its African allies.
“The country will also attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) if it trades acceptably will beat the competition from other producers.
“So, the quality of our goods and services must be guaranteed by the Department of Weights and Measures and other relevant agencies to ensure we trade favourably.
“However, to conduct its activities effectively, the department needs to have operational formations within states with staff deployed to different areas to cover grounds.
“Also, equipment like operational vehicles, weigh bridges and well equipped laboratories are needed to ensure good monitoring of locally manufactured goods for acceptability in the global market,” Jwan said.
Mr Michael Ogbuji, State Coordinator of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), said the workshop was apt, especially in the present era of AfCFTA, which enabled Africans to freely move their goods and services from one African market to the other.
Ogbuji said Nigeria being a big market with a huge population, must devise a way to also sell Nigerian goods abroad to better its economy.
“We will continue to partner with FMITI and the Department of Weights and Measures to ensure that equipment imported into the nation and those produced locally are properly assessed to boost our trade and economic wellbeing,” he said.