The Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Osita Aboloma, has restated his organisation’ s readiness to check tackle quality infractions that could arise with the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) recently accented to by the country.
Aboloma expressed these views in Apapa, at an interactive session with maritime journalists. He noted that since the SON could only visit the ports on invitation as presently obtained, thiis could hinder its ability to effectively check the influx of substandard goods.
The SON boss was represented at the event, Media Roundtable, put together by the Maritime Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (MAJAN) by Engineer Enebi Onucheyo, a Deputy Director in the organization.
“We had envisaged our absence at the ports as a challenge. It’s really a challenge; you know it’s a government policy. But with your support and that of other stakeholders, the policy can be changed in the interest of the country”, he said.
He added, “this limitation notwithstanding, like I said earlier, we’re ready and with people like you, the journalists, we can still do a lot. We can’t be everywhere in the country. So, we need intelligence to access information on trade quality infractions”.
He recounted the enormous gains inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area if there were quality check in the system, noting some of them as “return on investments, reduction in crimes as it would create jobs, boost in export, more revenue for the country, among others”.
On the preparedness of the agency to handle the fallouts of the AfCFTA, Aboloma said their quality laboratories had been put in place, as exports hitherto shipped out through neighbouring countries due lack of such structures was no longer the case.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a trade agreement which is in force between 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018. As of July 2019, 54 states had signed the agreement. Its effective take-off date was May 30, 2019.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a trade agreement which is in force between 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018. As of July 2019, 54 states had signed the agreement. Ratification by 22 countries was required for the AfCFTA to enter into force and the African Continental Free Trade Area to become effective. The agreement will function as an umbrella to which protocols and annexes will be added.
Negotiations continued in 2018 with Phase II, including Competition Policy, Investment and Intellectual Property Rights. A draft shall be submitted for the January 2020 AU Assembly.
The SON is among some government agencies ordered out of the ports during the regime of former President Obasanjo.