The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stepped up efforts to rid the nation of substandard products by rolling out new policy instruments while announcing the invalidation of existing agency’s certification. It hasgivena six month ultimatum to manufacturers and importers to key into the agency’s new standards regulatory instruments or pack up.However, President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs has pleaded with the nation’s regulatory agency to give the manufacturers more time to adjust to the new measures, adding that some products already on the shelves have life span of two years.
The average human being is in search of that which will make life worth living and improve the way and manner he conducts his affairs. Without even knowing it, the commoner is not satisfied with services rendered to him unless he derives some level of contentment from such a service. People may not be aware that they are eagerly hankering after quality – a measure of excellence, which is equally an experience of a customer. ISO 8402-1986 standard defines quality as “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.”
Quality should be applied in all areas of one’s life and not only on product or service. The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is doing a lot to ensure Nigerians enjoy their life through several of its programmes aimed at ridding the country of fake, adulterated, counterfeit and sub-standard products either locally made or imported. Indeed, the need for standardization has been amplified by the standards operator’s various sensitization programmes.
Recently at an expanded stakeholders’ programme in Lagos,SONlaunched four new logos and revised standards for the fortification of flour and flour related products in defenceof quality in furtherance of the agency’s campaign to stamp out of the country all sorts of fake and substandard products.The quality instruments logos became imperative to further stem the tide of sub-standard products circulating in the country as well as add value and impetus to genuine people who are operating in the various sectors of the economy. SON has refused to be beaten at the game, the agency has bared its fangs against perpetrators of evil and killers of fellow countrymen who have sworn to continually unleash terror by bringing in life-danger goods.
The Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu explained that, “the war against fake, adulterated, counterfeited and sub-standard products across the length and breadth of the country is actually getting complex even as we are recording results and huge successes. Eneke, the small bird, according to literary icon, Late Chinua Achebe, is always attributed with saying that “since men have learnt to shoot without missing their target, she (Eneke) has therefore learnt to fly without perching”.SON must go the whole hog to stop fakers and counterfeiters.
“We need to step up efforts and indeed up our game in the language of football, in the on-going campaign to clean the Nigerian vast environment of life endangering products. Let me say first and foremost, that our efforts over time have been geared towards attaining one goal: providing safety of lives and property through standard and quality assurance of goods and services. In doing so, we need to continually innovate, think of new ideas and flow with the tide. We equally need to close gaps we have noticed in the system”, Odumodu declared.
The SON boss however gave a six month ultimatum to manufacturers and importers to key into the agency’s new standards regulatory instruments or pack up while all existing certificates issued by the organization to operators have been invalidated following the launch of new quality logos.
“The four logos are part and parcel of our efforts to provide comfortable cover and umbrella to members of the nation’s business community, which of course, include manufacturers, exporters and importers as well as franchise/brandowners of products made overseas but imported into Nigeria. The new logos on Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP), SON’s Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP), Nigeria Industrial Standard (NIS) Mark of Quality as well as Nigeria Quality Award, all drive at the ultimate goal of checkmating the smart alecs and unscrupulous activities of economic saboteurs. They went to the extent of adulterating, printing and pasting fake SON’s logos on their products to beguile the public including regulatory agencies as if they have done all that are required before importing, exporting or even producing such products”.
In his remarks, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) President, Dr. Jacobs Udemba, who chaired the sessionsaid the launching of the four new logos was indeed a challenge for manufacturers in the country to maintain standard and quality requirements while he equally admonished consumers to be conscious of the products which they patronize. He equally commended SON for setting a target for itself to reduce the level of substandard products to ten percent by the end of the year 2015, adding that this would make life better for Nigerians.
Also, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, AlhajiAjiyaMamman represented by Engr. (Mrs) TawaAwobokun gave kudos to SON for its continuous efforts in curtailing fake and substandard products from overwhelming Nigerians and helping to improve the quality of products and services in the country. I am commending SON because facts and figures have shown that the agency is saving our time by avoiding taking a cosmetic logo change approach. SON’s underground efforts for improving quality of products and battling substandards, by developing quality infrastructure like test labs, metrology, accredited labs, harmonization of standards, public awareness, building of human capital both staff and stakeholders through world class training will give a firm foundation for the certification schemes, award and fortification of standards to thrive”.
According to Mamman, “We are proud and happy to be associated with these four new logos retooled for better efficiency in enthroning quality and the fortification standards for flour and flour products. We therefore call on all stakeholders, manufacturers, exporters, importers, service providers, SMEs, the Media, trade associations and industries to fully key into these initiatives. When we make effort to fight substandards by aligning and cooperating with this re-engineered schemes, award and standards; we will secure genuine businesses from being overtaken by inferior products thereby saving thousands of jobs, we will improve the quality of life of Nigerians, we will protect our life and environment, we will produce products and offer services that the world will jostle to buy, we will improve our chances to compete in the global market, we will ultimately change our world to one we can be proud of.”
Flour and flour products also received revised standards fortifications which according to SON are meant to ensure that the health and safety of Nigerians especially the most vulnerable are safeguarded.
The representative of Secretary of the National Population Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Rafiu encouraged those into fortification to abide by the revised standards so as to beat malnutrition, stating that 3% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product is lost to malnutrition.
A good leader brings about innovations and no leader worth his salt stays with the status quo because leadership is all about change which the Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu has brought to bear at the agency. Change creates ripples which disturb other aspects of life.SON is not playing games because it is committed to improving life through standards.
Agency officials told our correspondent that all the marks on the new logos unveiled by the agency are mandatory and backed by the law of the land. It therefore behooves on operators to comply with the new regime as defaulters would be sanctioned according to the appropriate laws. The agency has not relented to notify consumers on what is best for them, so, all hands must be on deck in winning the war against counterfeit, fake and adulterated products.
Also to consolidate on its laudable campaigns across the land, SON had concluded plans to launch what it termed ‘operation e-flush’ across the value chain of products in the media as a way of ridding the country of injurious products. “Consumers will be given adequate information about substandard products; we will get them to change their attitude. We require them to report to the appropriate authorities to take action whenever and wherever they notice such products. Please, try and challenge us, let us chase out these products that are harming us because the battle is not only for SON but for us all”, SON boss stated.
In a related development, in order to boostthe morale of local producers, the agency has introduced the Nigeria Quality Award – an initiative meant to encourage local manufacturers to compete locally and globally. According to Odumodu, “What is good for Nigeria and Nigerians should equally be good for the rest of the world. This is the idea behind the Scheme. So, we call on local manufacturers to take advantage of the Scheme. It is a way of confidence- building on ourselves that we can produce standard and quality goods that could stand the test of time and meet international best practices”.
“We must join in this campaign to work for quality, defend quality and protect ourselves and the environment from injurious products. We must always resist and reject sub-standard products wherever we see them irrespective of age, gender, tribe or creed. We sincerely hope and believe that with your maximum cooperation and collaborations with us, we will achieve our target of reducing the level of sub-standard products across the country to 10 per cent by December 2015”, he further reiterated.
Our Correspondent reports that various stakeholders including sister-agencies, industry captains, Universities, Non-governmental bodies, manufacturers, development partners, and so on, graced the occasion.
Son Tightens Nose Against Counterfeiters With New Logos