The effort by the National Quality Infrastructure Project (NQIP) to effectively implement Component two of the project was taken to another level on the 11th to 12th of April 2017 (Lagos) and 18th to 19th of April 2017(Abuja) as the assessors for ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation had the 3rd phase of their training in Lagos and Abuja respectively. The project which is funded by European Union and implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the Federal Government of Nigeria comprises of five components including the establishment of an accreditation body. The NQIP has successfully established the Nigerian National Accreditation Service (NiNAS) and is currently building in-country capacity of personnel that will play a role in the accreditation process.
These participants are undergoing a four phased training program to meet international (ISO19011) requirements for accreditation body assessors. Phase 1 of the training program targets various laboratory personnel to build their capacity in understanding the relevant ISO standards for accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories. Phase 2 of the training prepares the participants to carry out assessment of laboratories based on ISO/IEC 17025 requirements. Whilst the 3rd phase of the training is aimed at building the capacity of the potential assessors to understand the international dimensions of accreditation as well as the ISO 17011 requirements from NiNAS as an accrediting body, the policies and procedures of NiNAS to meet these requirements. In the final phase of the training, the assessors will be going through a practical training of carrying out mock assessments under the guidance of an experienced assessor from an ILAC recognized accreditation body.
For UNIDO NQIP project, this is about rewriting the narrative for Nigeria products and services through ensuring conformity to standards, quality assurance and accreditation. Nigeria has hitherto paid heavily for the absence of a quality infrastructure. This is what NiNAS will be contributing, alongside other project components, to reverse. Already, many laboratories which hitherto had little or no capacity to implement quality management system, are not only implementing it now, but is preparing from accreditation. It is hoped that within the next one to two years, Nigeria will be offering products and services from accredited conformity assessment bodies thereby enjoying global acceptance. As the saying goes “accredited once, accepted everywhere’. This will go a long way in helping Nigeria achieve zero reject of export products, especially the non-oil export such as beans currently under EU ban and other reported cases of product reject.