SON: Standardisation Key to Driving MSMEs, Economic growth

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By Jonathan Eze 

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stated that it would be refocusing and strengthening its support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) while also introducing initiatives to drive the nation’s agro allied sector to complement the federal government’s effort at making these sectors competitive and attractive globally.

Indeed, the agency stated that a major goal of standardisation was to grow MSMEs, including the agro-allied sector so as to ensure industrial and economic development.

The Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, who stated this at a sensitisation forum on SON Act 2015 in Abuja, noted that the agency has continued to introduce several initiatives to support the industrial sector.

He said: “Besides, we have done a lot to deal with product counterfeiters primarily in the interest of manufacturers. SON has been promoting SMEs development across the country. The agency is part and parcel of the federal government’s efforts and initiatives, be it the Presidential Industrial Competitiveness Advisory Council, Presidential Economic Council as well as the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council a.k.a Ease of Doing Business. All these are geared towards rapid industrial/ economic development.”

According to him, the provisions of the SON Act gives operators and players ample room to do the right thing in order to promote their businesses and industries for the overall benefit of the nation’s economy.

In his words: “SON is therefore a business facilitator rather than a body out to stifle industrial and business development. Our products need to be acceptable and competitive locally and globally; meaning that they must meet global standards and international best practices. This, among others, is what the SON Act is meant to ensure. Local industries need to survive and enjoy fair competition with imported goods. As a regulator, this is the work of SON. The agency provides enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Let us embrace standards and all its attendant benefits, thereby advancing industrial and economic development as well as the rights of consumers and end users.”

The SON boss, who was represented by the Head of Standards Library Services, SON, Abdullahi Ibrahim, said it is the responsibility of all citizens to be part and parcel of the federal government’s efforts to build a global competitive economy using ERGP template already drawn by the government, in line with the recently launched ERGP focus laboratories initiative by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said the aim is to drive investment and job creation, stressing that SON is already on top of the matter by deploying world class laboratories and the Act to sanitise the nation’s market.

“Sub-standard products must be removed completely from our markets while the purveyors are to face severe sanctions if and when caught. We are aligning with the government in its concerted efforts to diversify the economy, with re-invigorated focus on commerce, industry and agriculture. If and when things stabilise in these sectors, there would be massive employment and job creation”, he stressed.

Furthermore, he said developing SMEs through standardisation and quality assurance remains the task of SON, pointing out that most resource-based manufacturing companies are within the SMEs bracket.

“We are not relenting on our commitment towards the sustainable growth and development of SMEs across the country. This is the power house to industrialisation and economic diversification. We are partnering with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to review our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in view of emerging challenges of doing business in Nigeria. Therefore, the essence of workshops, which we organise is to create a platform for mutual and robust exchanges, public- private partnership (PPP), synergising, and identifying challenges for the benefit of the operators and regulators,” he said.