By Jerry Emmanson, Abuja
As part of efforts to establish Regional Infrastructure Quality in ECOWAS sub-region, the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP) with support from the European Union and implemented by UNIDO are meeting in Abuja on a 4day workshop to organize the Constitutive Meetings of the Regional Accreditation System (RAS), the Community Committee for Metrology, Technical Regulation and the Conformity Assessment.
The Programme is responsible to conduct a study to propose to all regional quality organisms the types of appropriate structures to ensure the implementation of their technical missions.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Industry and Promotion of Private Sector, Mr. Kalilou Traore thanked both the Nigerian government and UNIDO for implementing the programme. He also expressed satisfaction to the European Union for providing the €12 million support fund to execute the project.
‘This constitutive meeting is holding in a very particular context. This meeting is about to set the regional main committees to drive regional issues on quality. They will be composed of experts and delegates from each member states and will discuss and propose to ECOWAS all the new steps and regulations to be put in place,” Traore said.
On the progress of the programme which is to terminate by 2018, Traore said: “We have implemented around 80 to 85 percent of the project and before 2018 we will totally implement all the activities. We now have in all the ECOWAS member States, a national policy of quality, and there are also work plan in each country to implement the quality programme.”
The Minister of Industry Trade & Investment, Ikechukwu Enelamah, represented by Director Of Industry in the ministry, Dr. Francis Alaneme said the outcome of the meeting would be aligned with the strategic direction of the Common Industrial Policy and Quality Policy and other important priorities.
“Today, the setup committees will compliment and complete the structure for effective assessment of quality products and services. We may not lose sight of the fact that conformity of products enhances its competitiveness for export,” Alaneme also said.
Fielding questions from the Journalists, representative of the European Union, Frank Okafor stressed that it was important to emphasis the issue of quality based on the trade relationship between the EU and West Africa. He said it is in economic interest for the improvement of quality to help felicitate trade between West Africa and Europe.
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