By Adedapo Adesanya
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have moved to strengthen existing collaboration to boost local production and eliminate substandard products in the nation.
Interacting in Lagos, the two organisations agreed that the step was necessary to check the influx of sub-standard and undesirable products into Nigeria.
The Director-General of SON, Mr Farouk Salim, said the agency’s management required MAN council members as critical stakeholders in all its efforts to promote Made-in-Nigeria goods.
Mr Salim emphasised the need for partnership in the nation’s quest for economic diversification from oil to a non-oil economy.
He said that what was required was the creation of an enabling environment and adherence to approved standard stipulations for businesses to thrive.
The DG said that going forward, SON would intensify its partnership with MAN to identify genuine local producers, saying that whatever existing benefits the association enjoys would be improved upon.
“Whatever existing benefits the association has with the standards body can only be improved.
“We have concessions that we give to MAN and this is one of the ways we encourage manufacturers to join MAN because they get the benefit of our concession and whatever certificate we get from MAN, we are going to honour it.
“For now, we have to collaborate first and come up with an agreeable solution.
“We have both discussed the challenges we face and we are going to collaborate to address these issues long-term,” he said.
According to him, the public sector relies on and respects the organised private sector as they are the real drivers of economic and industrial growth. So, both public and private sector stakeholders are partners in progress.
“We should, therefore, always remember that standard and quality products ensure large market-shares for our businesses and companies which in turn lead to high revenue-earnings, job opportunities and export promotion.
“So, work with SON, do the right thing, don’t cut corners, get your products properly registered and certified by SON,” he said.
Mr Salim also identified the need for MAN to patronise SON’s internationally accredited laboratories for products conformity assessment tests.
He said that any product that passes the test and analysis in these labs was good to go globally.
Enumerating the benefits of standard and quality products to the economy, Mr Salim maintained that such products led to healthy lives, safer environment, employment generation and industrial growth.
Also speaking, Mr Mansur Ahmed, the President of MAN, urged the government to always encourage, sustain and implement initiatives and policies that would engender industrial and economic growth.
Mr Ahmed appealed to the government to give consideration to the importation of some raw materials currently not in the country by classifying these items as essential raw materials and giving them the status of low tariff.
“Initiatives like the national strategy for Nigeria’s competitiveness in raw materials and products development, tariff reduction and annual window for MAN members to obtain SON’s certificate for importation of types of machinery, raw materials and tools, among others, should be sustained.
“In as much as MAN duly supports the backward integration programme of government, it is our sincere opinion that this meeting will take a critical look at some raw materials that are not presently produced in Nigeria,” he said.
Mr Ahmed reaffirmed the readiness of the association to partner SON to check the prevalence of fake and sub-standard products across the country, particularly imported goods.
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