SON Equips Steel Producers for Global Competitiveness, Warns Operators

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Fadekemi Ajakaiye

Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has equipped local steel producers for the global market, acknowledging that Nigeria is a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA.

The standards’ body is currently spearheading the harmonisation of standards within Africa and the West African sub-region, urged Nigerian steel producers to not only take advantage of the biggest market in Africa, but the world over.

The Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, at an emergency meeting with steel producers, said the meeting was basically to prepare operators of the organised steel sector on the need to adhere to quality for their goods to be acceptable within Nigeria and at the global market.

He said, “If you adhere to standards in Nigeria, your goods will be accepted anywhere in the world because of the AfCFTA Nigeria has signed. Almost all the African countries that have subscribed to the agreement will use the harmonised standards to achieve seamless trade activities and for breaking technical barriers to trade.”

According to him, the steel sector is one of the most formidable sectors in Nigeria where the nation has the competitive and comparative advantage to earn lots of foreign reserve, while also creating wealth and job opportunities.

Reacting to the recent raids the agency embarked on to ensure sanity in the steel sector, he said the raids were part of its conformity assessment activities to make sure goods are produced to meet global best practices.

“The non-conforming producers have been guided on ways on how to get it right and the ones who still indulge in the nefarious act would have more issues with us. We are no longer working as regulators, but as business facilitators. Prosecution will be the last option, but we are working with them as partners for now and guiding them to getting it right is our major focus,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director, KAM Industries, Limited and the Spokesman, Steel Group, Bola Awojobi, commended SON for its tireless efforts to bring sanity to the steel industry.

Awojobi added: “The meeting was to synergise, synchronize and discuss ways to move the industry forward. We have been tasked to produce standard products that can be sold here in Nigeria and beyond. If we are able to produce quality products it would sell itself, while also giving us a good image within the comity of nations.”

He said: “More importantly, the issue of collapsed buildings will be reduced drastically. Our members in the steel group are producing standard products, but there could some lapses here and there, but I will say that we would cooperate with SON to ensure that our members produce quality products. We have listened to the Director General and we appreciate the efforts that they have put so far to sanitise the steel sector. I want to assure you that we would continue to improve to make sure we have standard products in Nigeria.”