Stakeholders urge SON to extend awareness services to grassroots

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South-East stakeholders in the manufacturing, consumption, service and allied businesses have urged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to extend its services to the grassroots.

The South-East stakeholders made the call during a one-day Stakeholders’ Sensitisation Forum organised by SON in Enugu on Thursday with the theme: “Standardisation Panacea for Economic Growth.”

They were of the view that once the message of standardisation is achieved even at the local communities, it would in turn have a positive socio-economic effect on the country in general.

The Permanent Secretary, Enugu State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Dr Godwin Anigbo, urged SON to extend its services to the grassroots by creation of more awareness on standardisation of products and services.

“We need robust engagement with the people at the grassroots in the local areas to enable them know how they can attain and maintain international acceptable standard for any endeavour they engage in.

“Once majority of our local people start doing the right things and getting it right; our products and services will be the best internationally and the country will be better  for it,” Anigbo said.

Mr Felix Odoh, Deputy Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Enugu State, said that SON could leverage on the spread of NOA officials scattered in the 774 council areas to reach Nigerians even in their localities.

“This sensitisation and enlightenment should go beyond here and get more Nigerians especially the people at the grassroots to know the standard for all they produce at their localities,” Odoh said.

A consumer, Mrs Vivian Offor, said that the sensitisation would make more meaning if those at the local areas, whose extract raw materials add value to them could achieve quality standardisation.

“Something as simple as palm oil should be produced to standard with good packing to ensure better value and more gain for the ordinary Nigerians that engage in such endeavours,” Offor said.

Earlier, the Managing Director of Enugu State Investment Development Authority, Dr Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo, lauded SON for being constant on its engagement of Nigerians to do the right thing and reposition the country’s economy.

“The issue of standardisation is important and it will be helpful to everybody and we must key into it.

“This is the only way to ensure we grow our economy and ensure conformity of our products and services,” Ogbu-Nwobodo said.

An Enugu-based manufacturer, Sir Eric Chime, noted that manufacturers and SON were both partners in progress, adding that SON had continued to ensure Nigerian products met international standard and acceptability.

“Apart from meeting international conformity and acceptability, standardisation also help the consumer not to be short-changed and quality guaranteed at all time.

“Standardisation also leads to better profit and international market opening for the manufactured products,” Chime, who is the Chief Executive Officer of RICO Group of Companies manufacturers of petro-chemical products, said.

In an address, the Director General of SON, Mr Farouk Salim, said that standardisation of products and services would assist the country’s economic growth and lead to general and international acceptance of all products and services.

Salim, who was represented by the Director South-East Operations of SON, Mr Fred Akingbesote, noted that when all products and services conform to standardisation, the country and her people would benefit tremendously from it.

He revealed that there was standard for every product or service, adding that upholding standardisation even in service industry of hospitality, tourism and hotel would create international market and patronage for such services.

The Director General said that standardisation led to cost reduction, less effort on production, strengthening of brands and making it convenient and easy for customers to recognise and pick quality products and services.

“If you see any product with SONCAP certification logo, rest assured that you have got a product with quality and satisfaction guaranteed,” he said.

Mrs Ijeoma Ezeazor, representative of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States, made a presentation on “Expanding Products Market Share via Standards.”

SON officials made presentations on MANCAP and Certification; SONCAP and Registration as well as Import and Export Requirements and “Driving Industrialisation with Quality Products.”

The sensitisation also witnessed question and answer sessions as well as goodwill messages from the Nigerian Immigration Service; Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps among others.