By Miriam Humbe
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria has admonished local steel manufacturers in Nigeria to adhere strictly to standards specifications in order to be competitive in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, who gave the admonition at an emergency meeting with steel producers in Lagos said the meeting was to prepare operators of the organised steel sector for the imminent implementation of the AfCFTA.
According to him, the organisation has over the years been spearheading the harmonization of standards within the West African region as well as the African continent under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Organisation for Standardization (ARSO).
He urged Nigerian steel producers to take optimum advantage of the entire African market under the implementation of the AfCFTA through greater competitiveness of their products.
He said, “If you adhere to standards in Nigeria, your goods will be accepted everywhere in the world because of the AfCFTA Nigeria has signed. Almost all the African countries that have subscribed to the agreement will use the harmonized standards to achieve seamless trading activities and break technical barriers.”
According to him, the Nigerian steel sector is one of the most formidable where the nation has the competitive and comparative advantage to earn lots of foreign exchange, while also creating wealth and job opportunities.
Aboloma stated that the recent raid carried out by SON enforcement team across the Nation was part of its conformity assessment procedure to ensure that goods are produced to meet requirements of the applicable standards.
He advised the non-conforming operators in the sector to take advantage of SON’s posture as business facilitators to adhere to the corrective measures directed by the organization warning that recalcitrant operators would be prosecuted in line with the provisions of the SON Act and other guiding laws in Nigeria.
In his contribution, Executive Director, KAM Industries, Limited and spokesman for the Steel Group, Bola Awojobi, commended SON for its tireless efforts to bring sanity to the steel industry in Nigeria.
Awojobi acknowledged that the meeting was to synergize, synchronize and discuss ways to move the industry forward, noting that the SON DG’s challenge to the sector operators will be taken seriously to ensure that Nigerian steel products compete effectively within and beyond the country based on the quality and to give the country a favourable image among the comity of Nations.
He stated that the issue of collapsed buildings would be reduced drastically if all steel products meet the requirements of the applicable standards, pledging the cooperation of the sector operators with SON to ensure continual improvement in the quality of their products.