By Innocent Orok
Within ten months of his leadership, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) under Mallam Farouk Salim has recorded impressive milestones that is unprecedented in the history of the organization. With more patriotic zeal and dedication to do more, these are his giant strides so far.
Nigeria was admitted into the Standards Management Committee of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO)
Completion of the 2019/20 ARSO essay competition for undergraduates in Nigerian tertiary institutions which led to the kick -starting of the 8th ARSO essay competition for undergraduates in Nigerian tertiary institutions 2020/21.
The Management of SON under Salim also set up an independent 5-man committee to review and strengthen management practices in the organization. Staff unions in SON has witnessed rapid growth and improvements through convening of strategic leadership/management retreat where all the participants collectively resolved to strive towards making SON a high performing organisation capable of delivering high quality services to their clients through renewed commitment and automation of services amongst others.
SON has also put in place a strategic plan to guide the activities and programmes of the organization from 2021 to 2024 as was approved at the retreat. Approval of 213 new Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS) for stakeholders/industry use and economic growth by the SON’s Governing Council and re-equiping the National Metrology Institute (NMI), Enugu to protect Nigerian roads, promote fair trade
Calibration of weigh bridges nationwide based on federal government’s directives.
The SON, under Salim has acquired landed properties in Katsina, Jigawa, Nassarawa and Kano states for the construction of prototype SON Regional/State/laboratory/ storage complexes. Occupation of new SON Corporate Headquarters building in Abuja and relocation of SON State offices to more conducive and befitting accommodations in Jigawa, Kano and Sagamu in Ogun state. Others are the relocation of State offices of SON to permanent office/laboratory complexes in Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) , Kwara, Akwa Ibom and Ekiti states. While also laying of foundation stone for the construction of the organization’s permanent office/laboratory and storage complex in Sokoto state.
Signing of MOU with the Katsina state government on support for development and growth of MSMEs. Offering support to the health care sector through management systems training, certification and calibration of measuring equipment and attainment of international accreditation for three additional laboratories for testing paints, electrical cables and food (micro nutrients) was also achieved within this period.
For the records, the SON has launched 38 approved Nigeria Industrial Standards for renewable energy in conjunction with nesp/giz/nemsa and other stakeholders and commissioning of an ultra modern state office/laboratory complex in Ado Ekiti, the Capital of Ekiti State.
On enforcement of Standards and Compliance, the SON has consfiscated N600million worth of stuffed substandard tyres in a warehouse at Ogun state, while seizures of two containers of stuffed imported used tyres in Port Harcourt, Rivers state was also effected.
The agency has also undertook the prosecution of standards infractions relating to substandard lubricants, electric cables, forgery of SON clearing documents etc and mopped up of substandard lPG cylinders in Suleija, also
seizures of adulterated engine oil in Kano and Lagos States respectively.
Destruction of substandard products in Katsina state including LPG cylinders mopped up from different parts of Anambra state were all destroyed in Enugu in February, 2021.
Also, six containers of stuffed imported tyres and substandard LPG cylinders intercepted from multiple sources were destroyed in Lagos in February 2021.
While two containers of imported used, stuffed tyres seized in Port Harcourt were destroyed in Enugu in March 2021
The SON Legal department is currently prosecuting about six persons and their organizations for standard infractions in courts across the country.
The period under review with Mallam Farouk Salim has also witnessed strong media advocacy. The world standards day, 2020 (protecting the planet with standards) and the world metrology day 2021with the theme measurement for health, Warning on under dispensing of oxygen and other industrial gases were duly observed.
Stakeholders’ advocacy and engagements has also been the watchwords of the Salim regime. The SON is engaging the National Council of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Kano state branch of MAN,
Director General and management of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on commodity trading and export
Computer professionals regulatory Council of Nigeria and NAFDAC, all aimed at achieving a more collaborative regulatory regime in support of the Federal government’s policy on the ease of doing business.
Standards requirements has also been made for railways, timber and timber products for Steel stakeholders in Lagos, Kano, Asaba on strict adherence to standards. Executives of amalgamated Association of traders, Alaba international market, Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPAMDA), Association of Nigeria Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), business/manufacturing community in Enugu on collaboration to tackle menace of substandard goods in the markets through self regulation and information sharing was also carried out by the Organization.
SON also engage Lafarge Africa through leadership platform on addressing the root causes of building collapse in Nigeria. Meeting with the Iso central secretariat to strengthen SON engagement with the organisation following which they assured of greater support to the organisation in international standards development and implementation. Stakeholders engagement at Enugu International Trade Fair. Stakeholder’s engagements on tyres and lubricants in Llagos and Kano. Standards & quality advocacy to State governments- Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Enugu, Ebonyi, Nassarawa, Osun, Kwara and Benue were all carried out to improve and intimate them of SON’s permanent presence in their states, with a proposal of Memorandum of Understanding on SON’s support for development and growth of MSMEs.
For effective and proper management of human resources available in the organization, the Salim administration also embarked on internal re-organisation at the organization, leading to mass transfer of about 500 staff for improved efficiency. Completion of staff promotion exercises for 2020 and commencement of process for 2021
massive staff training from october 2020 to date is ongoing. While payment of minimum wage to all temporary workers in SON on monthly engagement has been a top priority of the Mallam Farouk Salim led SON.
Salim has said with robust stakeholders supports, unrelenting media advocacy, adequate funding from the federal government and patriotic dedication of SON’s staff, his regime will change the country’s narratives regarding regulations and promotion of safe and required standard products for Nigerians.