The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has announced plans to equip journalists with the requisite skills on International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).
Besides, the move became imperative as it would help the media industry understand the benefits of ISO to the national economy in developing standards to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of products, services and systems.
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, stated this at a capacity workshop for journalists in Lagos recently.
Salim also urged the media to practise investigative journalism, taking into cognizance creativity and authenticity to write stories that would change the narratives of the country.
He noted that the essence of the workshop is to appreciate the media and their contribution to the progress of the agency and the country in general.
“We are also using this medium to interact and discuss issues that bothers both the media and the standards body,” he said.
“On the level of seizures made so far, the SON boss added that its level of seizures has increased tremendously, maintaining that responses from stakeholders and market associations indicate that SON is winning the war against substandard goods.
“The stakeholders response is very good and recently we have studies where steel products quality has also increased very much as we get this information from contractors and dealers. We are getting very good responses from stakeholders and the markets about the quality of steel products and cables,” he added.
He also reaffirmed SON’s commitment to strengthen its partnership with the media urging journalists to also act as vanguards in its fight against fake and substandard goods.
SON DG added that SON has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Katsina State government to develop the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the State, stressing that discussions are also ongoing to take the gospel of standardisation to Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi and Sokoto to make SMEs competitive.
Also speaking, the Director, Standards Development, Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, said the Nigeria National Standardisation Strategy (NNSS) introduced last year with a 3 year implementation plan had so far identified 658 standardisation projects to be developed before the end of 2023.
She said the NNSS aims to support the federal government’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan and Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
Mrs Egwuonwu also urged Nigerian manufacturers to ensure that they produce good products and follow it up with good packaging, as the SON would not allow substandard goods to either leave the country or exist here, as this would enable them to compete favourably with other manufacturers from any part of the world.
Salim noted that the SON had done enough sensitisation and had carried out enforcements to nip sub-standard goods in the bud.
He said: “Efforts are being made to improve standard of products and eliminate substandard goods in the country. We have done enough enforcement, discussed about how to stop all these things that are entering our country. We are working tirelessly both within, outside and underground, to improve activities of the organisation so that it can serve the country better.
“This is very important, because we have the new African free trade, where goods will be crossing borders without too much hindrances.
“So what that means for our country is, if our manufacturers are not producing standard goods, they will not cross over to the other countries, because other countries will set standards too and they will expect goods coming to their countries to be up to standard.
“So it is our responsibility as the SON to make sure our goods in this country are up to standard. We must make sure that substandard goods in the markets decrease. Governments should make sure that there are consequences and sanctions against any products or persons producing substandard products.