The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has expressed readiness to align its objectives with the goals of the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to reduce Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) among African nations as well as the realisation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
The Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma, stated that the agency would spare no effort to boost intra and inter-African trade.
Speaking at the 56th council meeting of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), in Ouagadougou, Burkina faso, the SON boss stated that promoting African trade within and outside remained critical towards the overall economic development of the continent.
He said Nigeria, through the standards body, would continue to play vital role towards African’s economic integration and trade facilitation by applying effective standards and quality assurance initiatives.
He pledged the commitment of the agency towards driving the birth of Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), a directive which African Union (AU) leaders handed down to the Chief Executive Officer of Africa’s National Standards Bodies (NSBs).
Aboloma commended the exemplary contributions of the founding fathers of ARSO like Nigeria via SON, for their vision and ideas best on ways to stimulate Africa’s development and global competitiveness using of standardization tools.
According to him, ARSO has been playing a key role in the liberation of the African continent through facilitating the harmonization of National and regional standards and conformity assessment processes.
“I wish to add my voice to the need to sustain the existence and effectiveness of ARSO through our collective and selfless contributions” he said.
The SON Chief Executive reiterated that Nigeria through the organization would continue to play her required role to ensuring the realisation ARSO overall objectives especially in the areas of ARSO and the effectiveness of its activities in promoting trade, particularly within Africa while also ensuring the competitiveness of African products at the international market place.
Speaking earlier, the President of ARSO who is also the chief executive of the Zimbabwe Bureau of Standards, Madame Eve Gadzikwa disclosed that ARSO’s five-year strategic plan 2017-2022 is aimed at building new strategies to address the challenges of quality infrastructure in Africa.
“Four goals, to develop high-quality standards and related deliverables through ARSO members were outlined viz: to ensure that African standards are adopted and applied as national and sub-regional standards within the continent; ensure that ARSO structures and operations are sustainable, and to ensure that stakeholders are effectively engaged across the entire ARSO standardization community.
Gadzikwa emphasized that the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) have variously expressed the need to reduce the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) among African nations.
According to her, the two bodies have undertaken to emphasize on the responsibilities of the African countries, on the impact of standardization, the expansion of global trade, regional integration as well as multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements.
She then called on the Continental Free Trade Area members to appreciate and recognize the important role of standards, metrology, conformity assessment and accreditation, urging them to harmonize their practices in these areas to achieve mutual product recognition.
On his part, the ARSO Secretary General, Dr. Hermogene Nsegimana commended the collaboration and support ARSO has been receiving from member nations NSBs and development partners towards the achievement of its set targets, promising to continue to promote openness and transparency in the activities of the ARSO Secretariat.