The Minister of Industry, Trade and Industry, Okechukwu Enelamah, has stated that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is vital in driving the federal government’s quality infrastructure framework. He noted that finding a lasting solution to the continued influx of substandard products into the country remained an onerous task facing the agency.
The minister stated this at an inaugural meeting of the new Governing Council of SON, a day after the inauguration of the standards body Governing Council in Abuja recently.
Enelamah, who is also the Chairman of the Standards Council, in his opening address to the members and SON management team, described the period of the Council’s appointment as a critical point, when the country’s economy is being diversified from mono product to agro-allied; solid minerals development; tourism; information and communication technology (ICT); light manufacturing and services in order to grow and develop it.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, FMITI, Mr. Edet Akpan, the minister stated that Nigeria’s balance of trade accounts is mostly in deficit with her international trading partners, coupled with the major challenge of rejection of Nigeria’s export commodities at the International markets, including Europe and the Americas.
While describing SON as a major agency championing the implementation of the National Quality Infrastructure framework of the Government, the minister stated that the organisation’s collaboration with the Weights and Measures Department of the FMITI and development partners like the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in establishing the National Metrology Institute in Enugu is worthy of commendation.
“The SON already has several laboratories which need to be replicated across the states of the federation for more effective implementation and enforcement of Standards as well as quality assurance initiatives,’’ he said.
In his welcome address to the Council members, SON Director General, Mr. Osita Aboloma, stated that the management and staff had eagerly looked forward to the appointment and inauguration of the Council to give impetus to the policy direction of SON as provided in its enabling Act No. 14 of 2015.
According to him, the calibre of the members would provide the Management with the necessary support and encouragement to step up its efforts in accelerating the achievement of the mandate of the organisation as clearly set out in the Act.
He informed the Council of a rich repertoire of competencies within the organisation that compares favorably with similar standards bodies in the African continent and around the world assuring the Council members of the utmost cooperation of Management as well as the provision of the enabling environment to carry out their duties to the organisation in particular and the Nation at large.
Aboloma enumerated some of the flagship quality assurance programmes of the organisation and hinted at the planned introduction of a unifying scheme “Product Authentication Mark” to assure genuine manufacturers, importers and consumers of the high quality of products at the point of purchase as well as confront the age long challenges of product cloning and counterfeiting.
He disclosed that one of the daunting challenges the organisation faces, in carrying out its mandate at the nation’s entry points in spite of the clear provisions of the SON Act was smuggling.