By Naomi Uzor
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, is set to refocus and strengthen its support for Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, in pursuit of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.
Director-General, SON, Osita Aboloma, stated this at a sensitisation forum on SON Act 2015 recently held in Abuja.
He stated: “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, also known as Ease of Doing Business. All these are geared towards rapid industrial/economic development.”
According to him, the provisions of the SON Act give 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 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.”
Aboloma represented by 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 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 sanitize 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 effort to diversify the economy, with re-invigorated focus on commerce, industry and agriculture. If and when things stabilize in these sectors, there would be massive employment and job creation, he added.
He noted that developing SMEs through standardization 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 industrialization 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 organize is to create a platform for mutual and robust exchanges, Public-Private Partnership (PPP), synergizing, and identifying challenges for the benefit of the operators and regulators,” he said.