Exhibitors at the just-concluded Made-in-Nigeria Trade Fair, organised by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), have expressed delight with the three-day showpiece, appealing to the organisers to make it an annual event which they said will help them play globally especially in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The three-day Made-in-Nigeria Exhibition which took place between December 12 and 14 was part of the activities to mark 50th anniversary of SON, which was celebrated last week. The event held at the Lagos State Television exhibition ground.
Some of the over 110 exhibitors who spoke at the told our correspondent that the exhibition enabled them to interact with one another and know the extent to which Nigerians are making effort to be self-reliant.
They said given the size of the Nigerian market, achieving self-reliance will not only strengthen and deepen our economy; but also will position the country to play a dominant role in continental market that has already taken off.
The leader of Dangote Fertilizer, a subsidiary of Dangote Group. Ifeanyi Osoego at the exhibition ground ,said he was impressed by the turn out of exhibitors at the showpiece which he said was at short notice, adding that if the organisers can make it an annual event more companies will be around to exhibit their projects.
Another exhibitor, a small and medium enterprise operator, Mrs Regina Imoisile, said the event was encouraging, especially given the fact that it was the very first time it was being staged.
“In short, it was very successful; it was indeed a good effort by SON,” she said.
As a matter of fact, I am saying that it should be a yearly event so that more people will come and showcase their products. SMEs should be encouraged to come in and exhibit because that is one of the ways to promote quality, she said.
Imoisile said she started small but her business has grown into bigger SME , adding she would like go beyond Nigeria and play in Africa.
A representative of Ayoola Farm limited said she likes the concept behind the exhibition because it will help to make Nigerian manufacturers to be conscious of the quality of goods the produce and help in attracting foreign buyers. She said should would like it to be organised every year.
The representative of Oando at the fair Mrs Oluleye, said he was glad that exhibition held, adding that it would be good if it is held annually especially next year that his company , Oando is going to introduce new products. But he hopes that there will be improvement in the organisation next time especially about the weather which he said was very hot. He said be good if the fair is held cold places.
The Director General and Chief Executive of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, who was represented at the occasion, said he was happy with the level of participation at the fair. He said some exhibitors have been around since the event kicked off on Monday, adding that the exhibition is to showcase that Made-in-Nigeria products are certified quality wise.
He said their presence at the fair was an indication of certified products.
All the products displayed in this exhibition are certified by SON. I am throwing the challenge to every one of you here that wherever you are SON should be able to vouch for you because our reputation is also at stake” said the SON DG who was represented at the occasion by the Director of Marketing ,Lagos Zone Mr Richard Adewunmi.
He said that the organization is providing proper testing of locally produced goods in order to prevent them from being rejected in foreign markets and that haven worked with them over years, the organisation will always ensure that they do not have problems about the quality of their products.
“I want congratulate for building confidence in Nigerian consumers and ready to compete globally. I can tell you, with my experience over the years, most of the products you see here can compete anywhere in the world and people are testifying to it. I can tell you from this time to next year, what you will see will three times bigger than what you are seeing here today.
“It is not just going to be an exhibition; we are going to call it Exhibition Market where everybody will come and also buy. I saw some of you display catalogues. We don’t you to display catalogue next year. We want you to come with full complements of your products where Nigerians can also coma and buy. That is what we look forward to.
By early next year we will be sending the feedback to you. And what we want from you is the areas you want us to improve on; things you want us to do and we can assure you that. We are going to incorporate it in everything we are going to do during planning.
“SON has over the years put in place programmes for capacity building for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME’s, with discounts, waivers and product’s certification processes for that sector to ensure the products and services offered meet the specified requirements of the Standards and can compete favourably in the international space, thereby, creating job opportunities for Nigerians.
MANCAP, Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme, a mandatory product certification scheme put in place by SON to ensure that all locally manufactured products in the country conform to the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) before such products are presented for sale in the market or exported.
The programme started in 2006 and ensures compliance of Made-in-Nigeria products to the minimum requirements of the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) or Code of practice thereby promoting fair competition at both domestic and international markets, as well as safeguarding the safety and health of consumers in the overall interest of promoting economic and industrial development of Nigeria.
MANCAP Certificate were presented to 10 companies that were present at the fair just awards were given to companies that have supported SON in last 50 years of its existence. Some of the companies included MRS , Atlantic Slippers Limited. Nigerite Limited, BagCo. Mikano International Limited, Paramount Trading and Industry Limited, Chi limited, Wacos Limited, Promasidor Limited, Royal Salt Limited, Vitafoam Plc, HPC Limited Cable Metal Limited, Nosak Distilary Limited, and Lacasera Limited