Over the past decade, Nigeria has been experiencing trade imbalance—wide differences between imports and exports—as a result of an increased import of goods, some of which are of very poor quality. Although today there is no local substitute production for a large number of these goods, Nigeria does have a nascent industry. However, the country lacks an internationally recognized quality infrastructure that ensures the safety, integrity and marketability of its goods and services so that it can participate in local, regional and international trade.
Nigerian Competitiveness Support Programme (NCSP) Within the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Country Strategic Paper and National Indicative Programme for 2008-2013, the European Union (EU) has approved a programme to support Nigeria’s competitiveness in trade and investment especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This would be achieved through improving the business and investment climate as well as developing missing standards and quality control bodies. The EU Support Programme is being implemented simultaneously by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) and complements other ongoing activities of the implementing partners.
Two of the specific objectives of the EU Programme for Nigeria are the following:
- To strengthen the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) to improve the business/investment climate for SMEs (implemented by GIZ).
- To support the development of the country's missing standards and quality control bodies and encourage improvement of the quality of products and services exchanged in Nigerian internal and export markets (implemented by UNIDO).