By Felix Khanoba
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, has called on the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to collaborate more with other government agencies and organised private sector groups in order to usher in the desired economic development in the country.
He expressed particular interest in the working collaboration between the National Metrology Institute (NMI) being developed by SON and the Weights and Measures Department to ensure optimal delivery of services in industrial and legal metrology.
The Permanent Secretary made the call while responding to a brief from the Director General of SON, Mr Osita Aboloma in Abuja.
A statement made available to The AUTHORITY by SON’s Head of Public Relations, Bola Fashina, said Sani-Gwarzo assured of the Ministry’s commitment
in providing all necessary support to SON and other agencies under its supervision to achieve rapid industrialization and accelerated growth of the nation’s economy.
While acknowledging the relevance of standardization, quality assurance and conformity assessment to all sectors of the economy, the Perm Sec commended the SON Management under Aboloma for its giant strides so far recorded.
Earlier, the SON boss, who acknowledged the tremendous support from the Ministry, highlighted some of the recent achievements by the Organisation.
According to Aboloma, the recent feats include automation of most services offer to stakeholders; massive development of market driven standards in conjunction with relevant sectoral stakeholders and Local and offshore Conformity Assessment of products through the Mandatory programme for made-in-Nigeria (MANCAP) and SONCAP for imported Products.
The list also includes 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, among others.
On the challenges confronting SON, Aboloma identified funding for the continuous development of the NMI and other SON laboratories, including obtaining international accreditation and running them at greatly discounted rates.
He also listed absence at points of entry for quality verification of imported products as well as circumvention of the offshore conformity assessment procedures by unscrupulous importers.
He said other problems also cut across wrong declaration of finished (mostly substandard) products as raw materials and machinery and outright forging of SON documents for clearing of imported life-threatening products.
Aboloma, however, promised to intensify the organisation’s activities in the areas of standards development, conformity assessment, enlightenment and enforcement, including prosecution of standards infractions in spite of the obvious challenges.