BY SOLA OGUNDIPE
HOPE is being re kindled today, in the drive towards entrenchment of approved industry standards for consumer products in Nigeria as former Managing Director, May and Baker Plc., Mr. Joseph Odumodu, takes over as Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Odumodu, 53, a seasoned pharmacist and thoroughbred private sector entrepreneur, is expected to bring on his wealth of experience and business-like corporate culture to jump-start the genesis of a more proactive and efficient SON.
A Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, Chairman of the Chemical and Pharmaceutical sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) as well as member of its Economic Policy Group, Odumodu is a a key figure in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Nigeria( PMG-MAN).
Optimism is high that with his antecedents as an experienced administrator and high profile business executive who has contributed immensely to development of the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry, Odumodu will bring about the expected changes in the SON.
Having expressed passion about the cause of the pharmaceutical and corporate world, which positioned him as the first indigenous managing director of Nigeria’s first pharmaceutical company.
As he steps into the driver’s seat of Odumodu is well aware of the desire for assurance of protection from imported but unsafe and substandard goods. He knows that Nigerian manufacturers want an end to the unfair competition from such counterfeit products. He is well aware how much consumers in the country want an agency that is responsible to safeguarding them as stated in the SON Conformity Assessment Program (SONCAP) strategy.
SON, the sole statutory body vested with the responsibility of standardising and regulating the quality of all products in Nigeria, was established by the General Yakubu Gowon military regime through Act 56 in 1971.
In principle, SONCAP is to identify goods that pose the highest risk to consumers in Nigeria and ensure that their claims of safety are verified before they are exported to Nigeria.
Since September 2005 the SONCAP has become mandatory for products within its scope.
Exporters of these “Regulated Products”, are expected to comply with the SONCAP or risk rejection or additional testing and delays at the Ports.
No doubt SON has made great strides initiating an offshore conformity assessment programme to assure the quality of imports of industrial goods into the country. Preventing dumping of substandard products/services, thereby facilitating consumer-protection functions is one of the major tasks ahead.
As DG, Odumodu is expected to support the initiative by taking responsibility for inspection, certification and surveillance of export of all industrial goods to the country. Systems Certification is one of the conformity assessments undertaken by SON to ensure compliance of products/services in meeting customers’ needs/expectation through establishment and implementation of effective management systems in line with relevant NIS ISO Standards.
Since its implementation, the programme has achieved tremendous impact on the Nigerian Industrial and Commercial sectors.
Further expectations are that, with Odumodu in the driver’s seat, there would be expansion of this programme to cover Laboratory Management system ISO 17025 and Health and safety.