The Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operators have called on the Federal Government to assist them to acquire International Certification to boost exportation of local products.
Some of the MSMEs operators disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on the sideline of the ongoing 2019 Wuye Market Trade Fair.
Mrs Priscilia Nwosu, Managing Director, P.R.I Global Ventures Ltd, producer of Shea Butter and certified Organics and Moringa products, said the certification would enable them to get international loans and market linkages.
Nwosu noted that the operators contributed 48 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the country, adding that it could boost product marketability and improve its outlook and packaging to meet international standards.
She said the certification could be acquired through a consultancy company called NICERT Ltd a Nigerian company working in partnership with ECOCERT group, France, to provide globally reputed certification on products to meet international standards.
She said that NICERT was dully authorised in Nigeria by ECOCERT to carry out the process of certifying products to meet international standard.
“Without the certification the Nigerian products would not be admitted, valued and patronised in the international arena. The private sector cannot do it alone.
“We need the Federal Government’s financial assistance to obtain it because it involves more than 3,000 euro and two years to obtain it.
“Eight Nigerian women, including me, attended a trade fair in Germany recently under the platform of Shetrade/International Trade Union but we could not make sales because we lacked the certification.
“Seven Kenyan women who also attended the event with us were greatly patronised because they had the international certification. I am really in need of it to boost my business,’’ she said.
Nwosu said apart from National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) certification, MSMEs operators needed Food and Drug Agency, U.S.(FDA) certification to thrive internationally.
Hajiya Ruquayyah Hussaini, Chief Executive Officer of Vivido Natural, producer of Green Tea said many operators were not well informed about certification.
According to her, government needs to intervene because some of the operators who are aware are discouraged because of high fees attached to it.
She also called for access to raw materials and the provision of production space such as incubator centre in the country to aid certification.
Hussaini further urged the government to provide zero interest rate for in obtaining loan for more access to funds.
On the contrary, Mr Chike Uzoka , Managing Director of SOMZEL Agro Enterprises, producer of Kuki tomatoes and pepper paste, said he needed the certification but needed to be well established locally.
Uzoka said getting loans in Nigeria to boost business was extremely difficult, adding that he had tried severally but did not succeed because of the stringent conditions attached.
He appealed to the government to make things easier for the MSMEs in view of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The trade fair which was organised by All Purpose Shelters Ltd (APSL) in collaboration with Abuja Investments Ltd had its theme as “Ensuring Food Security For All’’.