By Miriam Humbe
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is prepared for the imminent implications of Nigeria’s signature to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement recently accented to by the President.
The Organisation is said to have been working in close collaboration with other Ministries, Agencies and Departments of government as well as development partners to develop the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) to cater for the free movement of goods and services in Africa.
A statement by the SON Head, Public Affairs, Mr. ‘Bola Fashina said these assertions were made by the Director General, Osita Aboloma Esq. while responding to a media interview on the AfCFTA in Abuja.
Aboloma enumerated some of the NQI projects already delivered by SON as including a National Metrology Institute nearing completion in Enugu, international accreditation of SON laboratories, its training and management systems certification services as well as ongoing automation of all services to stakeholders.
These he said, are aimed at promoting the ease of doing business in and with Nigeria.
According to him, SON has been championing the harmonization of Standards within the ECOWAS region and the African continent through the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
Nigeria through SON holds the Chairmanship and Secretaryship of many of the Technical Harmonization Committees of ARSO in addition to promoting the participation of many stakeholders in Nigeria in the standards harmonization process, the SON DG disclosed.
He said that other preparatory steps towards the free movement of goods and services include the development of standards for artisanship such as carpentry, masonry, fashion design, painting among many others to ensure free exchange of the services particularly within West Africa.
Aboloma acknowledged the imminent challenge of combating the possible dumping of substandard and life-endangering products through the Seaports since the agency is not present to carry out quality verification of products on arrival.
He however stressed that SON Staff will continue to deploy all strategies including the use of automation, intelligence gathering and compliance monitoring to protect Nigerian Consumers from the menace of substandard and life-endangering products within available resources.
The SON Chief Executive extolled the existing robust collaboration among sister regulatory and security agencies in the fight against substandard products but called for greater synergy, stressing that no efforts should be spared in trying to protect the nation’s economy and the welfare of its people.