Ismail Sanni, Abeokuta
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, commissioned the first African Quality Assurance Centre in Sagamu, Ogun State, with assurance to implement the Nigerian Quality Infrastructure Policy aimed at ensuring acceptability of Nigerian products in the global market.
President Buhari who spoke at the occasion, said the centre would encourage such policy and give confidence to producers, manufacturers that raw materials from Nigeria, are of the highest acceptable quality.
He noted that the Centre would help in job creation, address unemployment challenges and put Nigeria’s industrialization in sound footing.
“It will improve domestic consumption as our priority is to protect the lives and wellbeing of our people by ensuring the quality of what they consume. This is in line with the Federal Government policy of growing what we eat and eating what we grow.
“Quality assurance places us on the right footing as we continue bro drive Nigeria’s industrialization”, he said.
In his remarks, the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, said the opening of African Quality Assurance Centre is a significant representation of government commitment to the diversify the nation’s economy from the over reliance on crude oil.
The governor regretted that Intra-Africa trade currently stands at around 14% compared to approximately 60%, 40%, 30% intrastate-regional trade that has been achieved by Europe, North America and ASEAN respectively, adding that the commissioning of the Centre was another symbolic representation of the commitment of Afreximbank as a partner in the development agenda in Ogun State.
“We are sincerely proud to be part of this success story. Our vision remains to give Ogun State focused and qualitative governance and to create the enabling environment for a public- private sector partnership, which is fundamental to the creation of an enduring economic development and individual prosperity of the people of Ogun.
“For us in Ogun State, we recognized the strategic importance of agriculture in the economic development of Nigeria and Ogun State in particular. Hence the inclusion in our Development Pillars of I.S.E.Y.A. Our main objectives in the agricultural sector include food security, agro value-chain development and agro-industrial transformation. The fact is that developing and leveraging on our agricultural sector will create employment generation, poverty alleviation, increased export and foreign exchange earnings”, he noted.
He said his administration, since inception, has focused on creating an enabling environment through the implementation of various business-friendly reforms like the establishment of the Ogun State Investment Promotion Agency, enactment of the Public Private Partnership Law and the establishment of the Public Private Partnership Office, to provides a robust regulatory framework for private sector engagement.
“Bringing this Centre to Ogun State, is a clear testament that we are not just the preferred destination of choice in Nigeria and the entire Sub Saharan Africa but as the first choice in export oriented industrial Concerns. Indeed, this initiative has again stamped our status as the Nation’s Gateway State, which also remains one of the fastest growing Industrial hubs of Nigeria, and a window into the expansive international corridor of West Africa”, he added.
The President, African Export and Import Bank (AFRIXEMBANK), Prof. Benedict Oramah, contended that standard and poor infrastructure have been a constraint of African export, stressing that the aim of the Bank is to facilitate the standard of African export through the establishment of quality assurance centres across the continent of Africa.
While noting that the centre was equipped with cutting edge technology, Oramah, said the centre would raise the bar by testing member countries export products and ensure they meet acceptable standard thus improve the continent competiveness in the global market.
The Agro-Cargo Airport and the Special Agro-Processing Zone sited in the state, the AFREXIMBANK president emphasized, would help in making Ogun State and indeed the nation, an export zone for Africa in the near future.