NIGERIA – The Governing Council of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has approved 37 new National Industrial Standards (NIS) to enhance product global competitiveness and improve Nigeria’s economy through participation in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Speaking at a press briefing after the 2-day meeting, Chairman SON Governing Council, Mrs. Evelyn Ngige, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment stated that out of the 37 Standards 3 were reviewed, 8 were newly developed, while 26 were adopted from existing international standards.
According to the Chairman, the approved standards cut across various sectors of the economy and are in line with the approved Nigerian Industrial Standardization Strategy.
She noted that these standardized tests would to a large extent provide opportunities for manufacturers and dealers in food products to be competitive locally as well as take advantage of the AfCFTA in balancing international trade and in turn help improve the nation’s economy.
Ngige also itemized 17 approved standards in the mechanical sector, with a focus on agriculture in support of the federal government’s economic diversification agenda. They include standards for irrigation and crop protection equipment.
She revealed that the council also approved 8 Nigerian industrial standards for use in the food sector, for liqueur, spirits, primary production of milk, candies, fruit nectars, soya drink and alcoholic bitters.
SON’s Director-General, Mallam Farouk Salim, remarked that Nigerian goods are rejected abroad as a result of manufacturers not meeting the required Standards during production and exportation.
Salim therefore, implored manufacturers and exporters to engage SON for Standardization of their products
“If exporters come through us and they follow the standards of the country to which they are exporting, then they should not have problems at the destination point,” he added.
According to Salim, every standard out there is strategic especially with the advent of AfCFTA, this is because when standards are developed, it is expected for the exporters to get the standards and comply so that at the destination point the products are accepted as up to standard.
The DG SON stressed further that it was always necessary to comply with standards because getting it right the first time saves everyone from wastages, losses and in turn yields positive results for the economy.
“Nigeria Walk for Standards” roadshow
The standardization body recently held a roadshow tagged “Nigeria Walk for Standards” to raise awareness and sensitize the public on the mandate and activities of the organization.
Speaking to the press at the event, the SON Chief Executive, made it clear that the organization will not relent in its zero tolerance to substandard products because standards affect every facet of life and therefore is not an issue to be treated with levity.
According to Salim, some of the bad products around are essentially a result of not following the standards stressing that the importance of standards cannot be overemphasized as standards affects every aspect of daily life.
“We survive or sink without standards, hopefully, we survive with standards,” he said.
The DG SON also noted that as a result of SON’s continuous engagement with stakeholders and market associations there has been significant improvement in quality in some sectors while a lot still needs to be done in other areas.
Salim however enjoined Nigerians to always look out for the SON certification marks on products before purchasing to guarantee quality, safety and value for money.
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Consumer Competition Protection Commission (FCCPC), Babatunde Irukera, in his remarks charged the public to cooperate with SON in its war against substandard goods as standards are an integral part of everyday life.
Irukera applauded the Director-General, management and staff of SON for the initiative in organizing the “Walk for Standards,” to enlighten the public on the importance of standards and the organization’s mandate.
He however maintained that, “there is still a long road ahead but with the right management, SON can travel that road”.