By Miriam Humbe
The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing all necessary support and encouragement to the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and other agencies under its supervision to achieve rapid industrialization and accelerated growth of the Nation’s economy.
This commitment was re-emphasized by the new Permanent Secretary, FMITI, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo in response to a brief from the Director General, SON Osita Aboloma Esq. in Abuja.
Dr. Sani-Gwarzo acknowledged the relevance of standardization, quality assurance and conformity assessment to all sectors of the Nation’s economy thus making SON’s mandate a key component to the emancipation of the Nation under the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP.
The Permanent Secretary, who also doubles as Chairman of the SON Governing Council enjoined the SON Management to redouble its efforts in relation to collaboration with other agencies of Government as well as the organized private sector groups.
He expressed particular interest in the working collaboration between the National Metrology Institute (NMI) being developed by SON and the Weights and Measures Department of the FMITI to ensure optimal delivery of services in Industrial and Legal Metrology for the Nation’s rapid economic growth.
Briefing the Permanent Secretary earlier, the DG, Osita Aboloma Esq. acknowledged the tremendous support and encouragement enjoyed from the FMITI in the past.
He highlighted some of SON’s recent achievements as including;
– Clearing of all outstanding staff promotion exercises.
– Improved and ongoing capacity development through attainment of international accreditation and recognition for many of its services such as
Laboratories, Management Systems Certification and training services amongst others, Automation of most of its service offerings to stakeholders for efficiency and effectiveness in support of the Federal Government’s ease of doing business policy,
Massive staff development through training and retraining, including on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Nationwide infrastructural development of Regional/Administrative
Complexes to provide better working environment for staff and take product testing and analysis nearer to the Stakeholders,
– Massive development of market driven Standards in conjunction with relevant sectoral stakeholders,
– Local and offshore Conformity Assessment of products through the
Mandatory program for made-in-Nigeria (MANCAP) and SONCAP for imported Products,
– A robust Standards enforcement procedure including destruction of life-
threatening products and the prosecution of the purveyors with support from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation,- Nationwide engagement, education and awareness for stakeholders on benefits of standardization and their roles in the fight against substandard products.
Aboloma enumerated some of the challenges confronting SON as including;
– Funding for the continuous development of the NMI and other SON
Laboratories including obtaining international accreditation and running them at greatly discounted rates for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in support of Government’s economic diversification Programme,
– Absence at points of entry for quality verification of imported products with its attendant dangers to SON staff, the Nation’s economy, safety and welfare of its citizens,
Outright circumvention of the offshore
He stated that the staff of SON are well trained and can compare favourably with their counterparts around the developed and developing economies of the world.