By Sunday Oyinloye
The second edition of the European Union funded Nigeria National Quality Awards by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) was recently held in Abuja. Like the first edition in Lagos, it remains a motivating factor for entrepreneurs to drive their businesses in the right direction and encourage healthy competition in the public and private sector of the nation’s economy. Not only that, the event which had the representatives of the Federal Government the private sector diagnosed the problems of Nigeria’s economy and proffered immediate and long term solutions to the challenges.
The National Quality Award seeks to increase the awareness on quality and standards so that consumers can have confidence in Nigerian products, promote healthy competition among manufacturers and service providers. The Award was also used to commemorate Africa Industrialization Day earlier postponed because of public holiday in Nigeria.
The theme of the Day was: “Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa: A pathway for accelerating Africa’s structural transformation, industrialization and pharmaceutical production”
In his message to the ceremony, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres reaffirmed the commitment of the world body and UNIDO in particular to strongly promote Africa’s industrial development as a key driver for realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
According to him,” inclusive and sustainable industrial development is critical for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Africa. It generates jobs, reduces poverty, hunger and inequality, empowers women, expands opportunities for young people, while also improving health, safeguarding the environment and tackling climate change. This year’s Africa Industrialization Day focuses on promoting regional value chains and underscores how industrial development in local pharmaceutical production contributes to healthy lives and well-being.
“The development of a competitive and sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Africa can help promote better health and well-being and sustainable economic growth. The availability of high quality and affordable medicines can alleviate serious public health issues, while the local production, export, and distribution across regions benefit the creation of jobs and income”.
A joint statement by Africa Union Commission, United Nation Industrial Development Organization and United Nation Economic Commission for Africa to mark the Day read by Jean Bakole says the development of regional value chains provides an invaluable opportunity for structural transformation which should result in inclusive and sustainable industrialization adding ” this will no doubt boost the prospects for member states to reorganize their production activities, stimulate enterprise competitiveness, while at the same time taking advantage of the diverse and abundant natural resource endowments of Africa. This diversity provides a strong foundation for the development of regional value chains.
“We also note that the African Industrialization Day 2018 represents an important occasion to raise awareness on the importance of a concerted programmatic approach to the promotion of rapid and inclusive industrialization in Africa. We are confident that the commemoration seeks to enhance consciousness and understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with the industrialization drive on the continent and mobilize African leaders, policy makers, and private sector and development cooperating partners to enhance dialogue on the pan-African industrialization agenda with emphasis on how development of regional value chains can a be a major catalyst towards boosting industrial production capacity.”
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah in his remarks at the ceremony said African nations have realized the importance of industrialization adding that production in the continent can only increase with industrialization.
According to him, the economy recovery of the Federal Government of Nigeria focuses on industrialization in line with the industrial revolution effort of the country. In his words: ‘’ we are working with some organizations to achieve this. We are also encouraging exportation, and to achieve our goals, we inaugurated Industrial Council in partnership with the private sector
“We want to create jobs for Nigerians, we need collaboration of key stakeholders, and we shall be working with the private sector, financial institutions and organisations like UNIDO for this purpose.”
The Regional Director of UNIDO, Jean Bakole in his remarks disclosed that UNIDO is committed to the economic development of Nigerian. He however observed that there is no way Nigeria could succeed in her exportation and industrialization drive without the culture of quality stressing” this is why this event is important”
Bakole commended the European Union for its support in the ECOWAS Sub-Region adding that UNIDO has been working to stimulate Nigerian economy.
The Representative of European Union, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, his Japanese counterparts as well as his colleague from Norway all spoke about how they have been working to complement the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria to diversify its economy.
They were all united in advising Nigeria to follow the path of industrialization emphasizing that the only way to fight poverty and provide job for the unemployed is through diversification of the economy and industrialization.
Speaking in the same vein, the National President of NACCIMA Iyalode Alaba Lawson commended UNIDO for organizing the Award ceremony. She said, it is good to reward quality as that would encourage healthy competition among manufacturers.
While commending the diversification efforts of the Federal Government, Mrs. Lawson said Small and Medium Scale Enterprises must be supported to grow the economy.
The commemoration of the 2018 Africa Industrialization Day and the Quality Award ceremony also witnessed a discussion with Economic National Adviser to the President, Dr. Yemi Dipeolu, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, Head of Trade and Economics section , European Union, Mr. Filippo Amato and , Chief Executive Officer, Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries ltd , Mrs. Stella Okoli and General Secretary NUTGWN, Comrade Issa Aremu as panelists.
They all spoke about the need for Nigeria to be an exporter nation and not a consuming country. The panelists also agreed on the need for African nations to trade with each other.
The Quality Awards process was introduced by the National Quality Infrastructure Project Manager, Mr. Raymond Tavares while Awards were presented to deserving manufacturers, service providers organisations and government agencies.
The commemoration of the 2018 Africa Industrialization Day and the second edition of the Nigeria National Quality Awards ended with a Gala Night and celebration of the Awardees.