Stakeholders hinge growth of non-oil export on adherence to standards
Stakeholders in the nation’s non-oil sector have urged exporters to comply with regulations guiding the entire value chain of export business in Nigeria to enable them to access global markets.
The experts, who spoke at GTBank’s Non-Oil Expert Seminar 2017, held in Lagos recently, explained that absolute compliance to regulatory standards in export would reduce rejection of Nigeria’ s agric produce at the international markets to the barest minimum.
For instance, a member of the Nigerian Quarantine Sevices, Abdullahi Orunma said to promote export activities of businesses in Nigeria, exporters adhere strictly to standards and regulations, especially in the areas of quarantine certifications.
These standards, according to him, involve the quality, quantity, sorting, screening, fumigation, insecticide, the pesticides treatment, adding that “If you obtain quarantine certification, it is as good as you are in the international market.”
He pointed out that there are instances where produce are rejected on the basis of fake certification. According to him, regulations in summary are about certification, which is globally accepted all over the world.
“There are instances where produce are rejected on the basis of fake certification and they run back to us hoping that we will panel beat one or two things but being regulators, we advice them to do the right thing. Once you are caught, there are punitive measures for doing the wrong.
“Over there, there are three things that could happen, if your produce is rejected, one, you will be asked to bring it back to Nigeria or they will ask you that they will truck it but you have to pay or they will destroy it.
“Once these two things happen, you are losing capital and you are giving Nigeria as a country bad name. And if it continues that way, the country where you are exporting it to have no option than to ban Nigeria, so you are giving us a bad name.
He added: “Apart from forgery of certificates, pesticides residue is a serious issue internationally. “Most of our produce that are rejected on pesticide ground is as a result of people visiting roadside fumigation company. All the govt regulators have department for treatment, visit them and let them treat it for you for certification.”
The Assistant Controller of Customs, Binga Musa Panuga explained that the level of compliance is not good enough, but however noted that as government is working on ease of doing business, there would be improvement on compliance.
“For us, on the issue of promoting compliance, the traders should ensure that they comply with government regulations and government is already promoting the ease of doing business in Nigeria which encompasses all the things involved including infrastructure, inter agency collaboration among others.
“The task lies on everybody. The level of compliance is not good enough, which I must admit that as government is working on ease of doing business, we believe that Nigeria will not remain where it is. Non-compliance is not peculiar only in Nigeria. It is found everywhere on a different degree. On our own, we will continue to encourage compliance in Nigeria.
“Let operators know the regulations, let them know what is meant to export, they should not just jump into it. In the world today, there are still standards and the world now is considered flat and not round. Let them know the regulations within the country so that they won’t have difficulty with regulation as well as the international requirements,’ he added.
The Assistant Director, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (Federal Produce Inspection Services), V.N Nwachukwu urged operators to collaborate with government agencies on quality issues.
“We should synergise with government agencies in the areas of quality, storage among others to avoid much problems”, he added.