“I’ve been asked to speak in Nigeria.”‘Where?’, asked my wife.
‘That’s nice to be asked, what do they want you to do?’
‘They want me to be a keynote speaker at a conference and awards ceremony. Its part of a project that aims to build trust in countries that trade with Nigeria. I feel we should get involved….seems a worthy cause where we can add value.’
‘That’s great! Do you want to do it?’
‘I know it’s listed as an extreme risk to personal security in the north east ….New Zealanders are advised not to travel there. The conference is down south in Lagos where it’s much safer.’
‘If you want to go and don’t because of personal safety I think you might always look back and regret that you didn’t. I think you should go.’ And I did go.
My first impression of Lagos was that it was green just like New Zealand. With a population of 21 million in Lagos alone, this is where the similarities ended.
I was to speak at the 1st Nigeria National Quality Award distribution ceremony. The Federal Government of Nigeria has as part of its Vision 20:2020 the aim of developing policies and measures to improve compet¬itiveness and diversification in the non-oil-related sectors of its economy.
Expected outcomes of the National Quality Infrastructure Project include
- A National Quality Policy (NQP) is promulgated and ensuing legislation for the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) is improved;
- A National Accreditation Body (NAB) is established in coherence with the West African accreditation system and is internationally recognised;
- A National Metrology Institute (NMI) is developed to ensure calibration of instruments and traceability of measurement to international standards;
- Improved capacity of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to create and/or support Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs);
- Improved capacity of Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the Organized Private Sector (OPS) to raise awareness and promote quality for better consumer protection.
The National Quality Infrastructure Project is intended to build trust through trade with 6 components;
- National Quality Policy
- Nigerian National Acrediation Service (NiNAS)
- National Metrology Institute
- Organised Private Sector and Conformity Assessment Bodies
- Nigeria National Quality Award (NiNQA)
- Cross cutting: Gender, Good Governance
This project is funded by the European Union and being implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in coordination with the Federal Government of Nigeria.
2017 is the first year that Nigeria has run its national quality award. Businesses were eligible to apply in one of three categories;
- Category A: large organisation (over 100 employees)
- Category B: medium organisation (more than 20 to 100 employees)
- Category C: small organisation (1 to 20 employees)
All applicants needed to meet criteria specific to one of 4 entry levels, based on ISO 9001:2015 quality management system and ISO 9004 performance improvement standards. The levels are;
- Level 1 Bronze “Commitment to Quality”: For organisations which have reached the required level of management commitment in the implementation of the quality approach. Level 1 includes 9 criteria.
- Level 2 Silver ‘’Quality Control’’: For organizations which, in addition to the commitment of management, have implemented a plan to improve their products or services. Level 2 includes 18 criteria, including those from level 1.
- Level 3 Gold “Encouragement for Excellence”: For organisations which have implemented a quality approach and conducted an internal audit (First Party Audit). Level 3 includes 27 criteria, including those of level 2.
- Level 4 Diamond “Excellence”: For organisations which have implemented a quality approach and have conducted an internal audit (First Party Audit) as well as an external audit (Third Party Audit). Level 4 is comprised of 40 criteria, including those of level 3.
“The essence of the NiNQA is to support Nigeria government’s efforts to upgrade the industries & enterprises to enable them attain outstanding level of business excellence and global competitiveness” Jean B. Bakole, Regional Director, UNIDO
The 1st Nigeria Quality Award Distribution Ceremony held on Wednesday 22nd November 2017 recognised 15 organisations across the three categories and four levels of the critieria.
The three Level 4 winners from the NiNQA become eligible to enter the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Quality Awards.
At the ceremony I spoke about the benefits of an award programme based on business excellence over one based on ISO standards, and how to build a sustainable awards programme for the long term. The Quality Award National Committee plans to move from ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 standards to a business excellence framework for assessing organisations that enter the NiNQA in 2018. Nigeria has taken an important first step towards becoming a globally competitive nation.
Many thanks to the Government of Nigeria and UNIDO for inviting me to be a part of the celebrations at the 1st National Quality Award distribution ceremony. Thanks also go to all those who made my time in Lagos a happy and enjoyable one.
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