NIGERIA – The Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Department for Industry and Private Sector Promotion (DIPSP) has donated ICT equipment to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), in a bid to enhance the implementation of the West Africa Competitiveness and Quality Infrastructure Project (WACQIP).

WACQIP is implemented under the framework of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) and aims to stimulate the competitiveness of SMEs in the 16 project countries, through value chain development and an enhanced level of production, transformation and export capacities of the private sector.

Dr. Kemji Ajoku, the Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, took charge of the handing over ceremony held at the ECOWAS Secretariat Offices in Abuja.

While receiving the items, the Director-General/Chief Executive Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Mallam Farouk Salim thanked ECOWAS and its Commissioner, stating that the equipment will assist the agency to achieve the goal of establishing uniform standards within the ECOWAS Sub-region.

The DG SON who was represented by the Director ICT SON, Dr.Justin Nickaf revealed that the critical component of the EU funded WACOMP was the harmonization of Standards through the ECOWAS Standards Harmonisation Model (ECOSHAM).

ECOSHAM lays  down  the  basic  principles,  procedures  and  mechanisms  by  which  the ECOWAS Technical  Harmonization  Committees  (THCS),  ECOWAS  Commission  and  the ECOWAS member states are to harmonize and maintain standards within ECOWAS.

The participating National Standards Bodies (NSBs) will be required to develop the identified 94 standards through existing Technical Committees (TC).

The process of harmonizing standards kicked off a few years back but was stalled by the Covid-19  pandemic. Nevertheless, it will now continue albeit virtually, despite the pandemic’s aftermath.

“Therefore, to facilitate the participation of NSBs such as SON in the sub-region, the donated IT equipment received through the EU funded WACOMP and WACQIP programmes and implemented by the UNIDO, will be used to host these meetings,” Farouk said.

He informed that the equipment donated are IT equipment and broadband Internet connection for the NSBs and Technical Secretariats to be connected online in order to continue with the harmonization of standards within the sub-region.

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria was represented at the short ceremony by the Director ICT, Dr Justin Nickaf, the Director Product Certification, Mr. Tersoo Orngudwem, Deputy Director ICT, Mr. Kussiy Moses, SON ICT, Anita Gwa. SON the Representative of Director Standards Development Chidi Ogham. Information Officer S. Sodangi and Gilbert Ndu Photographic Assistant.

WACOMP aims to support several selected value chains at the national and regional level so as to promote structural transformation and better access to regional and international markets while taking into account social and environmental concerns.

The Programme was adopted under the 11th European Union Development Fund (EDF) Regional Indicative Programme for a total amount of US$ 130,941,600.

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