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Manufacturers, importers back new SON boss

Say war against substandard goods just started Members of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture as well as the Lagos…

  • Say war against substandard goods just started

Members of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture as well as the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have thrown their weight behind the recent appointment of Malkam Farouk A. Salim as the Director General (DG) of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).

They hoped that the new SON boss would transform the agency to impact positively in the nation’s economy.

In a statement signed by Muda Yusuf, Director General, LCCI declared: “we would like to extend our best wishes to him for a successful tenure. We also like to assure him of the support of the LCCI in the discharge of his responsibilities of ensuring compliance and ensuring that Nigerians enjoy the benefits of quality products.

“We are aware that SON has been doing its best under the previous leadership, and we would expect that he would build on the achievements and legacies of his predecessors.

“I also would advise on the need to strengthen collaboration with critical stakeholders including the private sector to ensure that he achieves the objectives of the organisation. Synergy and collaboration are very key in getting intelligence, information, collaboration and also in the area of logistics. All those things are very important in achieving the desired results.

‘‘We are also aware that there are resource limitations, for SON like many other government agencies. I would like to assure him of our support in trying to mobilize resources either through advocacy or other means to ensure that the Standards body has the resources to properly discharge its responsibilities.

“We know that monitoring and enforcement of standards and curbing the activities of unscrupulous elements in the country remain daunting tasks especially given the size of the country. In order to scale up the capacity of SON, all necessary supports need to be extended both from the private and public sector. So once again, we wish him the best in his new assignment.’’

To help boost the economy and meet the aspirations of Nigerians, the LCCI boss advised on the need for the new DG to focus on deepening intelligence.

‘‘Without intelligence, we cannot fight the criminals that perpetrate the importation or production of sub-standard products.’’

The LCCI chief urged Salim to strengthen collaboration with the private sector. ‘‘We also would like to see better logistics and security for the staff of SON, because fighting criminals and miscreants that engage in importing and distributing of substandard products is a very risky thing. In order to minimize the risk exposure, there is need to collaborate with security agencies to ensure proper security coverage for SON officials.

We would like to see stronger enforcement, stronger compliance and control among all critical stakeholders particularly in the private sector. That requires a lot of discipline, and non compromise on the part of the officials. To improve the resources available to him, he needs to work in collaboration with relevant agencies of government and the private sector to put pressure on government to strengthen the capacity of SON with the desired resources so that things can get better.

He reiterated the readiness of the LCCI to partner with the SON to drive initiatives that would move the economy forward. ‘‘We are ready to cooperate with him, our doors are open.’

As for Mr. Eke Ubiji, Executive Secretary, National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME) in the wake of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the issues of standard and quality are very important.

It is good to have somebody who is a guru in that regards and who has International experience. He described him as “round peg in a round hole” adding that Salim will bring some value addition to the job.

He called for the creation of a National Quality Infrastructure to entrench companies Standards culture and boost international trade.

‘‘If you do not have products that comply with international trade, you cannot compete. The new helmsman should ensure that our manufacturers adhere strictly to the laid down International standards to benefit maximally and exploit the potentials of the AfCFTA.

The NASME boss said “For SMEs to participate extensively in AfCFTA, the SON must ensure they adhere to international standards.”

He appealed to the Federal Government to increase funding to SON to meet its mandate. ‘‘Government should update SON facilities to be at par with other standard bodies in other climes.’’

Mallam Farouk Salim took the baton of leadership recently in a short ceremony at the Conference Room of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment witnessed by the Minister, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the Permanent Secretary and Chairman, SON Governing Council, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, and some members of Management of the Ministry and SON.

On his vision for the organisation in response to the handover speech by his predecessor, Salim promised to bring changes by promoting public safety, the role of standards in local manufacturing, import and export as well as creating an enabling environment for innovations that would stimulate national self-sufficiency.

Salim stressed his desire to strengthen the agency’s compliance and enforcement through increased cooperation with relevant MDAs like the Police and the Judiciary, work more closely with the National Assembly and the Executive arm of Government to update regulations and penalties as well as seek improved budgetary allocations for needed improvements and staff welfare.

“We would also leverage on information and communication technology to disseminate our activities more efficiently, real time, in order to engender greater stakeholders’ buy-in and revamp public confidence in our organisation”, he disclosed.

The SON helmsman promised to also lessen red tapis, further simplify payment systems through increased investment in information technology, to guarantee improved service delivery, operational efficiency and encourage customer feedback and suggestions towards achieving the goals.

He assured SON staff of a level playing field to enable free flow of ideas and demonstration of capacities while urging them to continue to give their best to the nation through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.

The new SON Chief Executive also promised to make stakeholders, particularly the organised private sector players a fulcrum of his administration’s focus. Mallam Salim expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity afforded him to further contribute to national development through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, stressing that he would put in his best to justify the confidence of the number one citizen.

He also expressed appreciation to his predecessor for his selfless services to SON in the last four years and wished him well in his future endeavour.

Earlier, while welcoming the incoming Director General on behalf of the Management and Staff, the ex-DG Osita Aboloma commended his predecessors for laying a solid foundation for the advancement of standardisation activities in Nigeria in line with international best practices.

He assured Mallam Salim of bequeathing to him, a crop of highly competent staff in virtually all fields of standardisation, who according to him, compare favourably with their counterparts in the developed economies of the world.

Aboloma stated that the last four years brought forward greater relevance of the SON mandate to the socio-economic development of the Nigeria more than ever before.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo at the occasion, presented a formal letter of commendation and appreciation to Aboloma for his selfless and dedicated service to the nation through SON and wished him well in his future endeavour.

Our correspondent reports that one of the enormous challenges facing the new helmsman in SON remains the vexed issue of products brand-faking and counterfeiting.

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