Dr Paul Agia, Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has stated the agency has done very well in addressing the issue of quality in Nigeria in terms of its primary mandate which is to elaborate and publish standards for the public consumption.
The DG, who stated this in an interview with news men in Lagos, noted that SON has elaborated standards for all available products in the country, stressing that there are existing standards which are the basis for evaluating the quality of products and also in terms of quality assurance, in the local industry.
He said; “SON has achieved near 90 per cent success. I will say probably all industries that are producing in Nigeria legitimately including the medium and the small scale enterprises are constantly under SON’s inspection and auditing both in their processes and their products for certification.
“I can even tell you to a degree of certainty that products manufactured in Nigeria on the average, compare and conform to quality parameters and so to that extent, SON has achieved a major success .
“The areas that are not covered are the areas produced in the dark. These are those who producing illegitimately, illegal factories, those who are faking other people’s products, those people who starts production at 1 am and finish by 4 am and those who produce behind closed doors.
“There is nothing SON can do about it. The areas that are not covered is not in terms of product standards but in terms of our ability to enforce the application of standards to those people producing in the dark. Otherwise, we have standards for every product produced and consumed in Nigeria.
“You will not believe that we have standards for products like garri, kunu and zobo. So we have standards for virtually everything that is available in Nigeria. It is the implementation of these standards at certain sectors is the reason we have limitations and then of course, substandard products that are imported from outside Nigeria for which we are not able to or we are not allowed to verify and enforce their conformity to standards. So those kind of products are the areas where I will say our percentage of success in terms of quality assurance is not there, but for those that are legitimately producing in Nigeria, industries that are registered and open to our inspection, audit and advise is near 100 per cent.”
He stated that major challenges SON is facing is the cultural background and the level of development which will require all Nigerians to solve.
He added; “Another major challenge we have is that the influx of substandard products in Nigeria or let me say the unchecked influx of substandard products into Nigeria. These products come in and they compete with our locally manufactured products unfavourably leading to the closure of industries in Nigeria, leading to unemployment in Nigeria, leading to the collapse of the Nigerian economy and this is all because of the influx of these substandard products and where it is even more challenging for us is that we are unable stem the influx of these products into Nigeria and why are we not able to do it is because the government of Nigeria has not allowed us to operate at the point where these products are coming into the country contrary to the provision of the SON law saying that SON should verify quality of products at the sea ports and major entry points of Nigeria.”