By Charles Nwaoguji
Nigeria through the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has commenced the strengthening of ties with the Republic of Cameroon on the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in both countries.
The initiative is also to facilitate a seamless exchange of goods and services between both countries in conjunction with the Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion Agency (SMEPA) and the Standards and Quality Agency (ANOR) both of Cameroon.
These indications became apparent during a working visit of SMEPA representatives to SON Corporate Headquarters led by officials of the SMEDAN as part of a study tour to Nigeria.
Dr. Friday Okpara, Director, Policy, Partnership and Coordination, SMEDAN stated that the visit was at the instance of SMEPA as part of their study tour to Nigeria.
He expressed appreciation to SON for the warm reception in spite of the short notice and advocated an open exchange of ideas to enable the SMEPA delegation gain from Nigeria’s rich experience in standardization and quality assurance support to MSMEs.
The Deputy General Manager, SMEPA-Cameroon, Mr. Ewusi Mbongo Eric described the visit as an opportunity for the 5-year old Agency to study the SON structures in supporting MSMEs development in Nigeria, for replication with the Standards and Quality Agency of Cameroon (ANOR). Another compelling reason for the visit according to him, was the recurring enquiries from MSMEs in Cameroon bothering on regulatory compliance required for seamless trading with Nigeria.
Welcoming the delegation on behalf of the Director General, Mr. Tersoo Orngudwem, Director, Product Certification expressed appreciation for the initiatives in trying to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs in Cameroon.
He noted that the visit underscored the efforts of African Governments to access and rationalize technical capacities within the Continent to facilitate trading across borders, being championed through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Mr. Orngudwem added that SON has a technical co-operation with ANOR and disclosed that Nigeria was at the forefront of the election of Cameroon as the current President of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) for the term 2019-2022.
He enumerated SON’s efforts in supporting Government policies on MSMEs through subsidized sale of standards, testing, training and importation of raw materials and machinery specifically to alleviate the challenges of MSMEs in meeting regulatory requirements.