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SMEDAN, OPS partner to address SMEs’ technical regulations challenges




The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has inaugurated a Joint Working Group (JWG) of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) as part of measures to address challenges undermining global trade initiated by small businesses in the country.

According to the agency, the inability of many small businesses to adhere to global standards has limited their exposure to global trade as well as the availability of quality products to customers.

Director-General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Bature Masari, while speaking at the inauguration of the group on Conformity Assessment bodies, in Lagos, recently, explained that the initiative is being implemented to improve performance of the small businesses in the country.

“Sensitizing small businesses on Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) is of obvious interest to SMEDAN, considering the fact that the potential impact of this trade enhancement initiative for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) cannot be over emphasised.

“SMEDAN is responsible for Stimulating, Monitoring and Coordinating the development of the MSMEs sub-sector in Nigeria; in addition to working in contact with other institutions in both public and private sector to create a good enabling environment for business in general, and MSME activities in particular. We cannot ignore this mandate”, Masari said.

Masari who was represented by a representative from the agency, Abu Ozigi noted that SMEDAN has mulled plans to work with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to explore the possibility of promoting the establishment of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) that will focus on the specific needs on MSMEs across sectors.

“While taking cognisance of the fact that Conformity Assessment Service Providers shall necessarily base their activities on international standards and guidelines and shall pay attention to national needs, be transparent, be non-discriminatory and avoid unnecessary barriers to trade; SMEDAN shall in the near future work with UNIDO to explore the possibility of promoting the establishment of CABs that will focus on the specific needs on MSMEs across sectors.

“Considering the strength of your thirteen member JWG and its terms of reference, I have no doubt in my mind that your team shall succeed in this very important task of facilitating the establishment of OPS supported certification bodies in the country, according to international standards”, he added.

Masari added that going by the objectives of the draft National Quality Policy (NQP), the inaugurated group is expected to drive the provision of a national quality promotion strategy that builds on the national quality infrastructure and assists the country’s enterprises in becoming globally competitive.

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