To commemorate this year’s anniversary of World Standards Day, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has advised Nigerians across every sphere of human endeavours to intensify efforts in creating more employment opportunities and wealth in the country.
Director General of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, gave this advice, as Nigeria joins 159 members of the world to celebrate 2022 World Standards Day to enable consumers, regulators and industry to be aware of the importance of standardisation globally.
Salim said the theme of this year’s event tagged “Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs), a precursor for growth” is apt, saying job opportunities and wealth advancements are key to the realisation of the three major functions of SDGs which include the need to bring poverty to an end, creation of prosperity and climate protection
He said: “It will be a good idea for Nigerians and the country in particular, if more jobs and wealth are created by the citizens. Life itself is complimentary. We must strive to compliment one another through provision of amenities needed for the survival of our countries.
According to him, Nigeria’s plans to achieve the provisions of SDG’s would definitely come into fruition if all Nigerians support the government’s efforts to make the economy great and formidable.
He said SON would be upscaling its operations by providing more certifications and standardizations for products and activities in the country.
The SON boss further stated that standardisation is key to economic developments, stressing that Nigeria’s economy would become a force to reckon with globally, if this trend continues.
The SON boss said that the agency would try its best to provide more standards for products and services, in order to assist in growing the economy to an enviable height.
He said SON in realization of the pivotal roles played by standards in the country, has announced plans to increase the tempo of its activities, by urging more companies to come for product certifications and standardisation.
He noted that 168 firms got certification from SON a few years ago, adding that more would also obtain the consent of the standards agency in order to deepen their growth and profitability.
According to him, SON is not happy with issues such as building collapse and its attendant havoc wrecked to the society, adding that SON has made it an obligation to ensure pre-testing of building materials thoroughly, with a view to check the ugly incidence.
He said that SON’s laboratory at Ogba area of Lagos state has provided avenues to conduct tests for various materials used in construction of buildings in the country.
Salim said: “The facility at Ogba, Lagos and others in various parts of the country has assisted SON to provide suitable materials for production, all in attempts to ensure that materials go through assurance tests before they are deployed for use
On sub-standard products, the Director General, said SON has committed itself to strengthening its partnership with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to combat goods that were illegally imported into the country.
Farouk promises that SON would not relax its efforts to provide standards to importers, adding that the move would help in improving the economy, hitherto riddled with fake products.
He said SON from all indications is winning the fight against substandard goods, considering the fact that such products are fast disappearing from markets in Nigeria.
On product standardisation, he said is all encompassing, stressing that the issue made SON to extend its regulatory dragnets to many products in the lungs
He said the issue of providing standards for MSMEs popularly known as SMEs is non-negotiable, in view of the crucial roles which they play in the economy.
“SMEs are easily accessible, as they operate very close to our homes and offices and that the most feasible way to bring their growth to bear on Nigerians is to provide standards for their activities,” Salim stated.
While speaking on plans by SON to integrate all sectors of the economy into its programmes, Salim said that SMEs play crucial roles in the economy, describing them as undeniable agents of growth.
Salim said the need to provide effective standards for an estimated 40 million SMEs and further assist them to break the barriers posed against them by African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) is germane to the growth of the economy.
The Director General said issues such as discrimination and outright rejection suffered by Made in Nigerian goods at the international market would become a forgone issue once the activities of MSMEs operating in the country are standardised by SON.
Praising the Federal Government for its support for SMEs, Salim advised the operators in the country to strive to obtain international standards, in order to make their products attractive and compelling in the global market, adding that by doing so, SMEs would be able to bring more foreign exchange into the country.
Still on SMEs, Salim said the agency had trained operators in the past, adding that it would in conjunction with the office of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, provide more support for the growth of SMEs.
He reaffirmed the commitment of SON to strengthen SMEs’ activities through certification and eventual standardization of the products.
Findings have shown that there are 400 million Small and Medium Enterprises globally, coupled with the fact that SMEs are growing rapidly in Africa particularly in Nigeria. This implies that Nigeria has its own fair share of SMEs, a development which underscores the fact that the country with its over 200million population would create more jobs, once the SME sector is able to obtain standards from SON.