The Senate Committee on Industry has urged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to continue its drive in campaigning for patronage of Made-in-Nigeria items and products always.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sam Egwu, expressed that SON remained vital to achieving the present administration’s Executive Order 003 aimed at providing support for local content in public procurement by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, [MDAs] as well as increasing the demand for locally made goods and services in the country.
Egwu at an oversight function at SON’s laboratory complex in Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday said promoting Made-in-Nigeria goods could only be achieved through SON’s quality assurance programmes and activities across the country, restating the committee’s commitment to support SON to achieve its mandate of safeguarding lives through standards.
In his words, “We have visited other laboratories outside this country and compared to what we have seen outside the country I will say that SON has come to stay. A lot of mileage has been achieved since our last visit in 2018. Within a period of seven months it is good to see that staff have moved into the laboratory and almost all the laboratories are in operation which is a good development. This feat could not have been achieved without the Director General, the management and staff of SON. We just wish you maintain the standards. We need to maintain these standards so that others will also emulate what you are doing, so please keep it up.”
He added: “Apart from maintaining the standards, you must also ensure that the staff are properly equipped to carry out their operations and they should also be trained on the job to be abreast of global trend of standardisation. Standards need to be up-scaled at every time, so they need to be very versatile and proactive.”
Earlier, the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, said plans were underway to establish 13 laboratories with focus mainly on live endangering items, agric and agro-allied products, adding that the move would come on the heels of the present administration’s effort to diversify the nation’s economy away from oil.
He however commended the Senate Committee for their unwavering support to SON in its bid to rid Nigeria of sub-standard products while also safeguarding the lives of Nigerians through quality assurance.
“This is the first arm of your oversight function of your activities of SON in 2019. We are always pleased to have you here to acquaint you with the level of progress made so far with the fund appropriated to SON in 2018 so that you will be properly guided to see how we can be well empowered for effective service delivery in our bid to rid Nigeria of substandard products and our continuous battle for quality assurance thereby safeguarding the lives of Nigerians through quality assurance. Since your last visit, we have achieved many milestones so that was why we were very happy when you chose to visit the Ogba laboratory which would give us the opportunity to display what we have been able to attain in the past one year,’’ he said.
Aboloma added: The Ogba laboratory complex is the biggest single laboratory complex in sub-Saharan Africa. We have about 35 laboratories with 28 of it installed. Some of our laboratories have international accreditation to ISO 17025 which is to show competence for laboratories in order to position us for other activities in conformity assessment programmes.”
He disclosed that the federal government recently made it compulsory that all MDAs must look inwards to certify their processes, patronizing SON’s certification processes, saying that this was in line with the Executive Order 003 of 2018 to patronize local content as well as conserving hard earned foreign exchange spent on achieving global certifications abroad.
“This achievement would not have been possible without the support of the Senate committee appropriating funds as and when due. Each of our operations in the laboratory is being done in accordance to global best practices. Our laboratories here are equipped to test products that will be acceptable anywhere in the world. We believe that with the accreditation of these laboratories, the rejection of our products at the international markets will be a thing of the past,” he stated.