By Rukayat Moisemhe
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has charged industries to support the amendment of the SON Act of establishment to further empower the agency in its fight against substandard products in Nigeria.
Mallam Farouk Salim, Director-General, SON, said this during SON’s facility tour to Friesland Campina on Thursday in Lagos.
Salim stated that the SON Act amendment which was before the National Assembly would also empower the standards body to get more penalties for offenders thereby driving industrialisation.
He stressed that industries needed to support SON as a result of the myriad of services it rendered such as training, enforcement and metrology, laboratory testing to support the country’s industrialisation agenda.
He, however, noted that the country was going through a season of insecurity, restlessness because industries were closing down, leading to unemployment.
He added that industries were suffering from counterfeiting, infrastructural problems, substandard goods and others, but SON was committed to supporting the industry in every way possible.
“We are, however, in this together because we recognise that industry is the heart of a nation as most countries survive on industry and SON is here to support the industry.
“The industry needs to be supported and nurtured and we are working with the National Assembly to adjust our Act to provide the needed support,” he said.
The SON DG appealed to industries to minimise spending of foreign exchange on laboratory test abroad, and stressed that when SON laboratories were supported to be better equipped, the job would be made easier.
Managing Director, Friesland Campina, Mr Ben Langat, called for collaboration between SON as a regulatory agency and indigenous manufacturing companies to support industries through the difficult operating environment.
He stressed the need for greater understanding from a company’s point of view and a regulator’s point of view as Nigeria was going through a very difficult time in its economy.
“We are here in different roles but we have similar interests which is to drive the safety of products in the best way forward as regulator and producers.
“Manufacturers in Nigeria are faced with a lot of challenges such as inflation, cost of raw materials among others, but we have to weather the challenges with people that would see us and support us,” he said.
Langat also stressed the need for collaboration to tackle the rising counterfeiting of indigenous products to enable companies make their profits and also address safety concerns of counterfeit products.
“Counterfeit is a big issue and unless we come together as regulators and producers to fight this scourge, we won’t make much headway.
“We have had raids and gotten some arrests done but after a short while, they regroup and we need help to address that,” he said.
He reiterated the company’s commitment to maintaining compliance with high standards and food safety. NAN