By Franklin Alli
The Federal Government andÂ the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), have earmarked the sum of N10 billion to construct and equip a world class metrology facility for Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Metrology concerns the application of measurement science to manufacturing and other processes and their use in the society, ensuring the suitability of measurement instruments, their calibration and quality control of measurements. The ontology and international vocabulary of metrology (VIM) is maintained by the International Organisation for Standardisation.
The project which will be sited in Lagos, would, after completion boost SONâ€™s operations (standards testing, accreditation, surveillance, and quality assurance certifications, etc) and propel the country to effectively participate in global trade, improve competitiveness in production, strengthen negotiations with major trade partners, expand and diversify her goods and services for export markets.
The Chairman, House of Representativeâ€™s Committee on Industry, Dr. Solomon Agidani, who disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen in Lagos, hinted that the UNIDO Office in Nigeria has already agreed to provide N6 billion for the equipment and manpower training expenses, while the Federal Government is to complement UNIDOâ€™s gesture by providing the remaining balance of N4 billion for the project to take off.
â€œWithin the life span of our administration, we will do all we can to put relevant machinery in place for SON to have what its takes to effectively carry out its functions. Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Egypt have such world class metrology infrastructure. If you visit these places, you wonâ€™t believe that we are on the same planet. So, itâ€™s just a matter of beefing up our own Standards body to be more effective.
â€œUNIDO has accepted to partner the Federal Government to make the fund available and so, they have put together a budget of N10 billion. Sixty per cent of the money will be provided by UNDIO for technical support (equipment and manpower training), while the Federal Government is to provide 40 per cent of the fund,â€ he said.
â€œWe heard that they have been making a lot of seizures and we are here to see things ourselves. We have gone to see the volume of the seizures at their warehouse and head office, but they should go one step further beyond seizure, and identify the manufacturers of those fake products and their country of origin.
Burning the seized goods is not even in the interest of our economy because of its hazard on the environment. So, weâ€™ll push SON to work harder than what they are doing now.â€
Meanwhile, the Nigeria has joined the sub-regional Metrology Organisation branded as North, East and West Africa Metrology (NEWMET).
The formation of NEWMET which has Nigeria, Egypt, Libya and Sudan as members, will enhance effectual sustainable and integrated approach to the continentâ€™s quality infrastructure, encompassing metrology, standards, testings, accreditation and quality assurance issues which are increasingly assuming greater significance as technical barriers to trade.
Nigeriaâ€™s Engr Obiora Manafe of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) was elected to the position of Coordinator of Awareness, Research and Development while the Vice-President and Secretary positions were filled by Ghana and Egypt respectively.
The President of the National Institute of Standards of Egypt, Prof. Al Abu El Ezz who was also elected Chairman, NEWMET, noted that an internationally recognised quality infrastructure across Africa is high priority as the continent was ripe for accepted and reliable measurement that would be implicit in government trade authorities and regulators.
He reiterated that NEWMET will emphasize strict adherence to the development and the use of standards as it is vital to positive growth of the economy through quality, safety, reliability, efficiency, interchangeability, and compatibility, emphasizing that this will in increased trade, exchange of technological advances and good management manufacturing practice.