. Sign MoUs with Govs to boost SMEs growth
To check carbon emissions in the country in line with global concerns on climate change, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), said it is collaborating with other relevant agencies on emission standardisation.
In line with this, the agency said it is already encouraging importers and manufacturers of generators to prioritise low carbon emissions technology based on existing production standards.
The new Director-General, SON, Farouk Salim, who disclosed this during an interaction with journalists in Lagos, said: “we are collaborating with other organisations on what to do.”
The agency is also leading by example through its eco-friendly operations, particularly in its rehabilitated or newer offices, which are powered by solar energy.
In particular, he revealed that the SON Maiduguri office and the appliances are completely powered by solar due to the security challenges, which affected electricity supply from the national grid.
If things work according to plans, the SON boss said the organisation is working toward reducing emissions from combustion engines, especially vehicles. “Every vehicle should be tested yearly for emissions as is being done in the developed countries. We know that sustainability costs money, but we must do what we can to protect ourselves and the environment.”
Furthermore, in the area of sustainable supply chain, Salim said SON already signed a Memorandum of Understanding for quality assurance with the Agricultural Produce Sellers Association of Nigeria (APSAN), in five states to standardise agricultural produce for exports to check rejection of Nigerian products at the international markets.
Specifically, he said SON has also signed MoUs with a number of state governors to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to standardise their production processes, packaging, labelling and others to make their products exportable.
He noted that with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a pan-African strategic framework, which seeks to deliver continental goals for inclusive and sustainable development, Nigerian producers and manufacturers must up their game to compete effectively.
“We advise Nigerian exporters to seek advice from SON before attempting to export any product to avoid rejection in foreign markets,” Salim said, noting that enforcing standards go a long way in boosting economic growth.
He said SON is training its people on ISO 120400 to prepare them for the tasks ahead as well as on ISO 27001 for information and data security management systems. To this end, any IT company being registered in the country will be certified by the organisation in addition to getting their staff trained in the management system.
We know that sustainability costs money, but we must do what we can to protect ourselves and the environment.
Amid growing concerns on the prevalence of substandard products in the Nigerian market, particularly from the Asian markets, Salim said SON is currently conducting a market survey to assess the level of such poor quality products to ascertain the nature, type and origin of imports.
He agreed that raiding markets is not the best way to check the influx of substandard products, and argued that this would have been effectively checked if SON were to be at the ports to catch them at the point of entry before they are circulated in the markets, when it becomes more hazardous.
Despite this challenge, he said SON is strengthening its inter-agency collaboration to check substandard products and faking, particularly with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) due to the health implications.
Salim, however, said it is beyond the agency’s jurisdiction to do anything on return policy, saying that this is an issue for government to government based on bilateral relations and agreements with the countries where the products are being imported from.
Regardless, he said the agency is in the process of reviewing the existing SON Act 2015, with a view to strengthening its power and increasing the penalties for some offences.
It also plans to bring back identification marks to enable consumers to check for quality assurance in a more sustainable way, as opposed to current practice where you buy the product and scratch and text the numbers to a short code for confirmation.