By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
An agribusiness expert and Vice President of Nigeria Agribusiness Group, NABG, Emmanuel Ijewere, Tuesday, called on regulatory agencies to collaborate in addressing standard challenges that have over the years bedeviled import and export trade in Nigeria.
Ijewere made the call while speaking with Vanguard over areas that need to be considered first before anybody goes into export and import trade, which he pointed out that money and profit-making are not the ultimate, but the essentials things that ought to be first put in place to meet required standards by the importing country.
According to him, Nigerians need to produce high standards for Nigerians first, which entails making it a practice or way of life, and when it is good enough and meets those standards then such commodities can be exported.
He said: “That is why the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, should add to it that they educate these people who want to export. Let them start from home, let them work with National Administration for Food and Drug Control, NAFDAC, and Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, that these are the standards Nigerians deserve and once Nigerians deserve it then we can now start talking of standards people want abroad, and all these will address the issue of rejection of export commodities from Nigeria.
“These agencies should stop working in silos, but they should work together and come up with one message to reinvent and reset Nigeria.
“Like I said what is driving people in the foreign exchange not the name of Nigeria because once they have imported from countries through the back door because to get things out of here is not difficult; go to the airport and seaports bribe those who need to be bribed and it is gone, but that bribe has a long time effect on Nigerian product, and everybody suffers for us.”
He also decried the way people understand export business which has negatively impacted the Nigerian commodity and brand as a result of not understanding and considering standards of the importing country, which at the end gives Nigeria a bad image.
“When people talk about export the first thing that comes to people’s heads is foreign exchange. The people you are exporting to have created a standard and you are not the only ones exporting to them, which they have created a standard in the country.
“For you to be able to export to their country you must know what their standard is. Secondly, those standards are higher standards than what we have. Are better standards not good for Nigeria?
“So let us roll back to produce to high standards for Nigerians first; make it a practice or way of life. So if it is good enough and meets those standards then you can now export.
“Don’t start exporting what you don’t know, you don’t have the quality to unable to attain. It starts from the type of seed you use, the type of land you have used, the type of chemicals you have used that is where it starts.
“Then the preservation, the harvesting mode; how you transport them, pack them, the moment you mention export, people think of opening a domiciliary account in the bank. Who are you exporting to? Those people are not stupid, they have standards, let us go for the standard”, he stated.