An assessed Technical Regulation regime against best international practices
Nigeria lacks an internationally recognized quality infrastructure that will ensure safety, integrity and marketability of goods and services and remove technical barriers to regional and international trade. The economy has suffered various setbacks in relation to trade. Goods have been severally rejected at the international markets. Between 2010 and 2015, about 103 export commodities from Nigeria were rejected at the international market because they failed to meet acceptable international quality standards as a result of the poor and inefficient quality infrastructure. In Nigeria, the different regulatory institutions have the statutory right to pursue the mandate for which they were separately established. This has resulted in mandate overlaps, oversights and waste of resources. There are also multiple certification bodies that use the same or similar standards and thus loading the private sector with different stipulated mandatory tariffs. The private sector has become vulnerable to activities of corrupt government agents who usually take undue advantage of the resultant lapses within the system. Consequently, the quality of service deliveries/products is compromised.
The incentive for exportable goods in a Nigeria endowed with lots of natural resources is low. This is partly because the products do not meet the exportable standards and because some of the regulatory agencies do not have the required skilled man power. In addition to this, the large population size of Nigeria (about 170 million) and diversities of locally produced goods exert great demand on the attention of the few accredited conformity assessment bodies. Thus, their ability for a sustainable and appropriate market surveillance exercise and enforcement of compliance is weak. Effective monitoring and implementation cannot be readily validated because of the obvious gaps between the ‘law’ and the ‘practice’.
Another major concern is the lack of effective contributory roles of the private sector and the consumers in the regulatory structure. The contributory roles of the private sector can harness the regulatory activities and reduce the dependence of the regulatory institutions on the government for sustenance and maintenance. These setbacks demand the urgent and timely intervention for reformation and strengthening of the regulatory structure which will ensure the quality of services and goods provided.
In recognition of these concerns, the Federal Government of Nigeria through this policy seeks to establish a regulatory framework that will coordinate the development and implementation of technical regulations.