Strengthening bilateral trade relationships within the South African Sub-Region, the Director General (DG) Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim, recently hosted the Zimbabwean envoy team of three led by the Counsellor and Head of Chancery Zimbabwean Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Tonderah Oscar Mutuke, at the SON Corporate Headquarters in Abuja.
The Director-General, represented by the Director of Product Certification, Mr. Tersoo Orngudwem, said SON is at the forefront of trade as regards standardization both at the National and Regional levels and is also responsible for setting and enforcing products standards, ensuring the safety and quality of goods and promoting fair trade practices in Nigeria to protect consumers as well as enabling trade by maintaining a level playing field for all stakeholders.
The DG, in his response, explained the product standards and certification processes as a procedure to protect consumers and promote trade. He discussed the requirements such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria conformity assessment Programme (SONCAP) for goods imported into the country and the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) for locally manufactured products and services as programs put in place by SON.
Salim also emphasized the importance of robust standards and certification processes to protect consumers and promote trade. He added that our certification processes help ensure products meet relevant safety and quality standards.
He expressed his belief that there are opportunities for collaboration between SON and ZimTrade through this meeting. Also, he conveyed SON’s commitment to promoting fair trade practices and ensuring product safety and quality in Nigeria.
In response to the SON DG, the Representative of the Zimbabwean Trade office, Mr. Kupakwashe Willis Midzi, acknowledged the cordial relationship between Nigeria and Zimbabwe over the years, especially in Bilateral and Diplomatic relationships, and stated the purpose of the visit as a move to collaborate and further strengthen relations for trade as well as other mutually beneficially agreements.
Mr. Midzi added that under the leadership of the Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a key part of their foreign policy is economic diplomacy. Zimbabwe has been under economic sanction for the past 20-40 years. Hence, it is expedient for them to see how to depend on themselves to look within for solutions to their challenges. It is in that spirit that ZimTrade is looking for markets in brother Countries to see where to identify with investment and trade opportunities.
He noted that they would be in the Country for a while to meet with several Nigerian Organizations and stakeholders for trade and investment to see what they can step into and offer.
Also speaking, Mr. William Gaviyau noted that ZimTrade is the National Trade Promotional Body in Zimbabwe owned by the government, its equivalent in Nigeria is the Nigerian Export Promotional Council (NEPC). They have chosen Nigeria for several factors, such as the success of Nigeria in trade markets, value chain, and Standards harmonisation requirements for improved trade relations.
Other SON officials in attendance were Mrs. Foluso Bolaji, Director of Public Relations, Engr. Enebi Shaibu, Deputy Director Product Certification Department, Mrs. Chudi-Anaukwu Chioma, Assistant Director and Desk Officer WTO/TBT, Barrister Asase Hembafan, CLO, Mr. Chidi John Ogham ACSO ARSO DESK, Mrs. Rabi Sophia Nbok, ACSO SMEs Desk, Mr. Jamodu Babajide, Mr. Spiff Rubane among others