BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

SON council approves 168 new standards, National standardisation strategy

By Raphael Jov, Abuja

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Governing Council has approved 168 new Standards for publication and dissemination to various sectors of the Nation’s economy in furtherance of the Federal Government’s economic diversification policy.

Rising from its virtual meeting, Chaired from Abuja by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Council also put its seal on the first ever Nigerian National Standardisation Strategy (NNSS) 2020 – 2022, developed by SON to identify priority areas to focus on, based on national needs assessment.

According to Dr. Sani-Gwarzo, the document is accompanied by a National Implementation Plan that gives orientation for national standardisation work within the three years duration.

The NNSS, according to him, has identified a total of 658 standardisation projects in key priority areas classified by economic sectors as highlighted in Federal Government’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and other related national strategic plans.

The SON Council Chairman described the establishment of the NNSS as an outstanding and epoch- making achievement of the Director General and his Management, for which the Council gave a unanimous commendation.

He also commended the SON Management for resolving all promotion arrears, conducting staff promotion exercises as at when due and the resolve to go ahead with the 2020 promotion exercise in spite of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Sani-Gwarzo conveyed the Council’s approval of the request for the conduct of the 2020 promotion exercise with innovative latitude to ensure compliance with the infection prevention and control measures put in place by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) not later than August 2020.

Welcoming the Council members earlier, the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma Esq. enumerated the organisation’s role and support in the Federal Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as including leveraging on its international collaboration to make necessary and relevant international standards available to local manufacturers at no cost. The organisation also waived charges relating to importation of essential materials while also fast tracking the process, he said.

Aboloma stated that SON has also been providing necessary technical quality assurance support to local manufacturers involved in the manufacture of Personal Protective Equipment required for the prevention and control of COVID-19 Nationwide, through its State offices.

Commenting on the approved 168 Nigerian Industrial Standards by the Council after the meeting, the SON Chief Executive enumerated them as 64 for Electrical/Electronic products; 53 for Chemical Technology; 47 for Food and Agricultural products; 3 for Civil/Building Technology products as well as the reviewed standard for Hotel and Serviced Accommodation Management System and Rating – Requirements and Guidance for Use.

Aboloma highlighted some of the standards as including;

  • Review of standards for fertilizers
  • Review of existing and development of new standards for the Tomato and Cassava Value Chains.
  • Adoption of international standards on Environmental Testing
  • Adoption of international recommendations for renewable energy and hybrid systems for rural electrification among many others.

The Director General assured that the approved standards would be published promptly while awareness programmes will be carried out with relevant sectoral stakeholders, to encourage voluntary uptake of the standards across industries.

Aboloma reiterated that the newly approved 168 Nigerian Industrial Standards cut across various products and services and are of great economic, regulatory and industrial importance for Nigeria.

On the importance of the NNSS, he stated that it would enable the Nation to develop standards in a most effective way, using available resources in the most efficient manner.

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