By Jill Okeke
The Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mallam Farouk Salim has said that SON will do everything humanly possible to make Nigerian products to be able to compete favourably in the foreign market.
Speaking in Lagos at SON’s training for MSMEs and exhibition of MANCAP certified [locally made SMEs] products, the DG of the government regulatory body said over the years, SON has put in place programmes for capacity building for micro small and medium enterprises [MSME’s] with discounts, waivers and products certification processes for that sector to ensure the products and services offered meets the specified requirements of the standards and to compete favourably in the international space. At the three days exhibition which was one of the activities to mark SON’s 50th anniversary, the DG who was represented by Dr. Richard Adewunmi, the Marketing Director of the Agency said that SON is also providing proper testing platform for locally produced goods in order to prevent them from being rejected in the foreign markets.
“This we are doing by equipping our engineering laboratories, the national metrology institute in Enugu, the leather and textile laboratories in foods, chemical and electrical laboratories in Ogba Lagos,” stated Salim.
At the inaugural exhibition which was attended by over 120 companies which had met SON’s certification of standards, the DG noted that to further strengthen the core mandate of the regulatory Agency, that they are constructing new regional offices and rehabilitating old office buildings, while also working closely with state governments to provide lands for construction of offices and laboratories in order to enable prompt service delivery to factories and MSMEs.
“We recently commissioned the Kano regional training facility to provide training services for our stakeholders in the North West and would be commissioning in North East regional office complex in Bauchi state in a few days,” he said.
While congratulating the entire family of SON both past and present for their service to the nation, Salim traced back the history of the establishment of SON by an enabling Act No. 56 of December 1971; known as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria cap 412 of the laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria during the military era.
“Today, the amended version of the statute, SON Act No. 14 of 2015 has not only given us more responsibilities but has also armed us with the powers to conduct search, arrest, prosecute and seal up facilities where they go contrary to its provisions. The Act also increased the penalties for various degree of violations relative to the offenses and the value of the goods under consideration,” he added.
Speaking of the Nigerian cable he pointed out that it was one of the best in the world but lamented that some of the manufacturers were not giving it the visibility needed resulting that foreign company’s now stamp their brand names on the Nigerian cables which is in high demand.
He also added that any electronics manufactured with Nigerian cables comes out as a high quality product and stands the test of time.
Talatu Etah, Director, Lagos Operations, SON in her welcome address said that the agency is in charge of ensuring that manufacturers adhere to standards in the country, hence “our MANCAP and the ISO mark which represent our approval seals for products that meet the required standards of the agency.
“This exhibition is therefore organised to showcase some of the products that have gotten the MANCAP seals of the agency, celebrate them and let the public know the importance of the MANCAP seals on any product in the country and encourage those yet to get such standardisation seal to immediate commence the process of getting it,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the Food Industry Sector, Ada Amogu, Compliance/Regulatory Affairs Manager Flour mills Nigeria said that SON has helped in no small way to standardise and regulate the food industry. “We collaborate with SON, we are compliance. We look forward to improvement.”
Also speaking, Blessing Onyeike, BTL Manager SUMAL Foods ltd, makers of Yale biscuits amongst others said that there was no standardisation in the Nigerian industries before the creation of SON. The Agency has greatly impacted Nigerian industries positively.
On the quality of Nigerian biscuits when compared to imported biscuits, SUMAL foods ltd, manager stressed that Nigerian biscuits are made with the finest ingredients and can compete in the international space.
The Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Y. Katagum said the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is a useful tool in the delivery of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments mandate of facilitating trade and the growth of the Nigerian industrial sector.
The Minister of State made this statement at the SON 50th Anniversary celebration in Abuja.
She noted that 50 years was a long time in the life of an organization in Nigeria especially given the fact that the country’s existence as an independent country was only 12 years longer.
“SON must therefore be one of the oldest government institutions in Nigeria. This anniversary is undoubtedly a milestone worth celebrating. In addition, the steady growth of the Organisation from its humble beginnings to becoming the apex Standards Body in Nigeria, with constitutional responsibilities, is also remarkable and worth celebrating,” she said.
While congratulating the organisation, Ambassador Katagum said “in acknowledgment of its consistent implementation of reforms aimed at making its services more easily accessible to the public, SON has been ranked first in the Ease of Doing Business by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
She went on to note that, “the organisation also recently received an Award from the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for Ease of Doing Business in the Information Technology Sector.
These two recognitions are no doubt fitting anniversary gifts which will of course challenge the organisation to keep up its good work, she stressed. (Nation)