African standards bodies seek to deepen continental trade through metrology
African standards bodies have collaborated to boost trade in the African bloc by deploying the use of metrological infrastructure.
According to the group, using metrology infrastructure to drive trade in the continent had become imperative, pointing out that it would go a long way to complement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).
This was the agreement reached when over 25 African countries and its international partners participated during the 12th AFRIMETS General Assembly and Related Meetings in Enugu recently.
The chairman, AFRIMET, Denis Maturi, said the thrust of the event was to create awareness on the impact of metrology in intra-African trade.
”This project is in line with the African Union’s effort to facilitate trade within the Africa continent,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, added that the present administration, through SON, has committed huge resources to human capacity development in metrology and instrumentation.
He noted that SON has in the last few years made concerted efforts at creating awareness on metrology services and their benefits to the nation’s economy and the welfare of its people.
The Director General explained that Nigeria hosting the technical committee meetings and general assembly of AFRIMETS was to further boost stakeholders’ awareness of the benefits of metrology to Nigeria and the African continent at large.
While restating SON’s efforts at driving the national quality infrastructure project, Aboloma said Nigeria’s membership of AFRIMETS and other continental and international standardization bodies is a deliberate effort in ensuring that the nation participates actively in inter-laboratory comparisons amongst National Institutes of Metrology (NMIs).
According to him, over the last three decades, SON, with the active support of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) and encouragement from its development partners and others, has made huge investments in developing human capacities in the field of metrology.
The DG also stated: “I must state however that we still require a lot more training to update the capacities of our NMI staff, and thus look forward to more support from our development partners in that area.
“We have also committed huge resources into developing material capacity in collaboration with our development partners- UNIDO- as you will see during the tour of the NMI site.
The Regional Director, UNIDO, Jean Bakole, said SON’s metrology institute is the first metrology Institute in the country, stressing that the institute would help to add value to goods manufactured by Nigerian companies to gain acceptability in Africa and world over.
“The Institute would go a long way to add to the value of products coming out of the manufacturing industry. It would also ensure that all products coming out of this country is well calibrated to meet the required standards for Africa trade. This is a big achievement and going forward, we will need the best experiences from different African countries present here to drive metrology,” he said.
The Chairman, Governing Council, SON, Edet Akpan said creating awareness in the science of accurate measurement in Africa and assisting in the development and strengthening of metrology infrastructure within the continent are necessary impetus for industrial growth, through improved competitiveness of products from Africa.
He added that metrology is one of the components of Nigeria’s national quality infrastructure project that is central to the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present administration.