The Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mallam Farouk Salim has said that SON over the years, 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.
Speaking in Lagos at SON’s training for MSMEs and exhibition of MANCAP certified [locally made SMEs] products, the DG, who was represented by Dr. Richard Adewunmi, at the three days exhibition which was one of the activities to mark SON’s 50th anniversary, said SON also offers suitable testing facilities for locally made goods to avoid having them rejected in overseas 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.
The DG noted at the inaugural exhibition which was attended by over 120 companies that had met SON’s certification of standards, that the regulatory Agency is also working closely with state governments to provide lands for the construction of offices and laboratories in order to facilitate quick service delivery to factories and MSMEs,In addition to building new regional offices and renovating existing office buildings.
“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 noted that it was among the greatest in the world but bemoaned the fact that certain manufacturers were not giving it the prominence it required, leading to foreign companies now branding the highly sought-after Nigerian cables.
He further stated that any devices produced with cables from Nigeria are of a high caliber and are built to last.
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.