NEDA: NQI Supports Inclusive, Sustained, Rapid Growth

“NQI (National Quality Infrastructure) fits perfectly…in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP),” said National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Assistant Director General Rosemarie Edillon in her closing remarks at the two-day Standardization, Productivity, Innovation, and Certification for Enterprises (SPICE) in Food Processing seminar-workshop held on November 25-26, 2014 at the University of the Philippines Institute of Small-Scale Industries (UP ISSI).

The seminar-workshop was attended by 60 participants from the food processing sector, government agencies, local government units, service providers, and business support organizations. The activity aimed to enhance the participants’ knowledge and appreciation of NQI and its significance in ensuring consumer health and safety, environmental protection, fair trade, and competitiveness; provide food processing SMEs with an overview of the services offered by various Quality Infrastructure bodies; and understand and develop responsive solutions to SMEs’ NQI-related needs and issues.

Vital role
During her speech, Edillon explained that the PDP’s overarching goal is inclusive, sustained, and rapid growth and declared that NQI plays a vital role in meeting the targets set in the PDP. By employing the NQI framework, businesses, including SMEs, could broaden their market base, and thus contribute to jobs generation and GDP increase.

“A lot of times we’re unable to access a foreign market because the consumers are not confident about the quality of our product….NQI is an important strategy to expand market access,” Edillon said. “You also improve the competitiveness of the agriculture, industry, and services sector particularly by expanding their productive and innovative capacities. At the same time, the implementation of (an) NQI will also enhance consumer welfare and therefore increase market demand.”

“Kulang pa”
Edillon cited the Philippines’ improved ranking in technological readiness and innovation indices in the 2013-2014 World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. From 95 out of 139 in 2010, the country ranked 77 out of 148 countries in 2013 in terms of technological readiness. Meanwhile, on innovation, we climbed to 69 out of 148 from 111 out of 139 countries.

“We still lag behind our neighbors. Kulang pa rin (We still can’t keep up.),” Edillon stressed. “We are improving but actually, in the PDP, the target is for us to be in the upper third of all those countries…. So (we have) a long way to go but (we’re) getting there.”

Standardization for innovation
Standardization, a key component of NQI, can play a part in enhancing innovation in the country. “Product standardization can also encourage innovation, as each producer will have to strive to differentiate its product offering from all the rest, while introducing certain added features. Kaya maganda rin at gusto namin yung product standardization kasi it also leads to innovation. (This is why product standardization is good because it leads to innovation.)”

“Think global”
Edillon noted that the food manufacturing sector comprises a very small percentage of the export industry. “’Yung export natin (Our export) of processed food products constitute only two percent of our total exports. There’s still a lot of room to grow. And if you look at the top five markets for our manufacturing food products, we have US, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, and UK. Actually hindi tayo nakaka-cater sa (we are not catering to the) ASEAN (countries).” She underscored the need to “think global if we really want to penetrate the world market.” NQI, which promotes conformance to international standards and internationally recognized certification and testing facilities, can help food manufacturing SMEs gain a strong foothold in the global marketplace.

PhilMSTQ hosted the SPICE seminar-workshop together with UP ISSI under the support of PTB, the National Metrology Institute of Germany.

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