The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Maryam Katagum, has said that the role of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) remained critical in helping the country’s manufacturing sector to fully benefit from the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The minister said the assurance of adherence to internationally accepted standards, which the organisation upholds will eliminate technical barriers to trade making locally produced items more competitive globally.
Speaking at the 50th-anniversary celebration of SON in Abuja, Katagum said one of the goals of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was to ensure that the country takes advantage of emerging trade opportunities across the world, adding that adherence to quality standards was however critical to achieving its objective.
This came as the Director General of the standards agency, Mallam Farouk Salim, said its governing council had approved
213 new Nigerian industrial standards to boost economic growth, and promote fair trade among others.
The minister particularly commended SON for the positive role it has played in promoting the growth of the manufacturing sector and the economy at large, adding that its “activities especially through the MANCAP scheme have contributed immensely to the increased acceptability of Nigerian-made products in the international market achieved by this administration”.
She further assured the organisation of the government’s continued support towards achieving its primary mandate.
The minister said, “In acknowledgment of its consistent implementation of reforms aimed at making its services more easily accessible to the public, SON has been ranked first in the Ease of Doing Business by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
“In addition, the organisation recently received an Award from the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for Ease of Doing Business in the Information Technology Sector. These two recognitions are no doubt fitting anniversary gifts which will no doubt challenge the organisation to keep up its good work.”
The minister said, “Fifty years is a long time in the life of an organisation in Nigeria especially given the fact that our existence as an independent country is only 12 years longer.
“SON must, therefore, be one of the oldest government institutions in Nigeria. This anniversary is therefore undoubtedly a milestone worth celebrating.
“In addition, the steady growth of the Organisation from its humble beginnings to becoming the Apex Standards Body in Nigeria with constitutional responsibilities is also remarkable and worth celebrating.”
Salim, however, added that the council had also approved 168 new standards for publication and dissemination to various sectors of the nation’s economy.
He said the move demonstrated its desire for a more effective standardisation process, and ongoing economic diversification policy of the present administration.
Addressing the media as part of activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the agency, Salim added that 213 new Nigerian industrial standards had also been approved to boost economic growth and promote fair trade among others.
He said the federal government had introduced the first ever Nigerian National Standardisation Strategy (NNSS) 2020 – 2022 as part of its economic diversification policy, stating that the strateg