The federal government has to deploy standardisation policy during the formation of Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs) process that can bring diversifying in the Nigerian economy.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, explained that the current economic down turn necessitates the development of various initiatives by various arms of government which include the recovery and growth plan by the ministry aimed at resuscitating collapsed industries, boosting trade, attracting responsible foreign direct investments, development of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and patronage for made-in-Nigeria goods.
The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Aminu Bisallah, at a management retreat organised by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), added that at a time when global commodity prices are declining, “now is the time to encourage SMEs to produce goods that are exportable to attract the much needed foreign exchange for the Nigerian economy.”
Meanwhile, the minister added that the theme of the retreat “Repositioning the SON for optimal performance in a diversified economy” is no doubt very apt, given the diversification drive of the federal government centred on the nation’s potentials outside petroleum.
He noted that management retreats generally offer opportunities for critical self-examination through open and creative dialogue, developing new ideas and innovations leading to strategic realignment to drive desired change, saying that this singular move has the potential of securing the voluntary buy-in of the rank and file in the organisation while also ensuring management enthusiastic and effective participation in the implementation of organisational goals.
“The role of SON in this regard cannot be over emphasised. You must reinvigorate your strategies in the fight against the influx and distribution of substandard products as part of measures to protect the local industries from unfair competition and re-position them for export to earn the most desired foreign exchange,” he said.
He said the most important asset of any organisation is its human resources upon which other critical success factors depends, saying that this retreat would dwell significantly on strategies for staff training and development, succession planning, career progression and staff motivation among others with the overall aim of entrenching formidable organisational culture off excellence, productivity and selfless service to the nation.
Earlier, the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, said the agency is poised to bring its competencies and expertise to bear in the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), pointing out that a major outcome of the retreat would therefore be to reposition its SMEs unit to be in the front burner of its efforts at contributing to the effective implementation of the NIRP.
“Closely related to this is the fact that the Acting President has already given us a two-month ultimatum to galvanize the standardisation of all SMEs in the country,” he said.
According to him, another expected outcome of the retreat would be to reposition standardization and quality assurance activities with a view to creating the enabling environment for investments and production of goods and services in the country, saying this would culminate in improving the ease of doing business in the country.
“For me as the Chief Executive (CE), it will avail me with the opportunity for galvanizing and articulating my vision for SON, and to use the forum to secure the buy-in of both management and staff of the organization. This is the only way the organization can own the vision for us to pursue and ensure its success together,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the former Director General, SON, Professor John Akanya, said going forward, Nigeria must define, implement its national quality policy and objectives, implement and maintain SON quality policy and promote quality amongst manufacturers and traders.
He said Nigeria must take advantage of the agency’s national metrology institute and the national accreditation body, pointing out the need to encourage and promote the certification systems in the country.
He tasked SON to strengthen existing inspection and testing bodies, enlighten enterprises and encourage national quality culture amongst consumers and the general public