The Senate Committee on Industry has advised on the imperative of returning the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to the nation’s ports as a strategic step towards curbing importation of low quality goods and manufacturing raw materials into the country.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Sam Egwu, who canvassed this position during an oversight function to SON’s offices and laboratories in Lagos, noted that the continued absence of the agency was being felt at the ports and called on stakeholders in the sector to work towards its immediate return.
The legislator pointed out it if properly positioned at the ports, the agency would have first-hand information on goods berthing on the shores of the country before being allowed into the markets.
He explained: “We cannot overemphasize the issue of standardization, because it is the core for every manufacturing output. We are not happy that SON has not been allowed to operate at its maximum capacity, especially with their presence being felt at the port.
“Nigeria is import dependent, with porous borders and for them not to be at the port to inspect these goods first hand is not good enough. They should be allowed to be at the port to see these products before they enter into the market.
“We have observed some products come into the country from countries that do not have standards all cloned with SON logo. This is certainly not good for the Nigerian economy. The discovery by the SON deterred such goods from getting into the hands of unsuspecting consumers”, Senator Egwu added.
He commended operations of the agency in its fight to combat fake and substandard goods, and restated the committee’s support for its operations at all times.
Specifically, he lauded the agency’s management for its efforts to ensure that products were being standardized nationwide, adding that they have also judiciously put to use the appropriation funds given to them to deliver on their mandate.
In his remarks, the Director General of SON, Osita Aboloma, told the committee that the agency had made progress under the current leadership of the senate committee on industry.
He enthused: “We have never had it so good under any committee in the history of SON. Not only did you bequeath a befitting SON Act, we have also been able to discharge most of our core mandate.
“I am also proud to tell the world that the issue of possession and co-ownership of the building where our operational office in Lekki is situated has been resolved in favour of SON due to your able leadership’’, Aboloma added.
The lawmakers during their visit were taken to SON’s one-stop office in Apapa and its multi-billion laboratory complex in Ogba-Ikeja, with about 38 laboratories.