By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
The Governor of Ekiti State Dr. Kayode Fayemi,has lauded the Federal Government for setting up an Office and laboratory of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria’s (SON’) in the state.
Fayemi, who expressed happiness over the development, noted that the move would complement the economic plan of the State.
According to him, the establishment of the SON office would strengthen efforts of the State and SON to combat the menace of substandard goods in the State and the country at large.
Speaking during the official commissioning of the complex, the Governor disclosed that the State Government has also entered into an agreement with SON in the struggle to eliminate fake and substandard products in other to boost economic development in the state.
He however urged companies and business owners to invest in the state, saying they stand to gain from favorable government policies and SON’s modern facility in the state.
The Governor stated that the Inauguration of the office and laboratory complex would boost socio-economic development and increase trade and Investment opportunity in the state.
“Ekiti people are known for maintaining standard when it comes to products and services.
“We will not compromise standard and we are going to continue to support SON in it’s regulatory responsibility, the governor stressed.
Also speaking, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said SON has been weaponised with teeth courtesy of its amendment act of 2015 to arrest, confiscate and prosecute offender or group of offenders who violate the laws relating to standards of goods and services in the country.“
SON is coming hard on violators and the Director General have assured me of SON’s preparedness to work with individuals or groups to collectively improve the lives of Nigerians through standards and to make Nigeria stand tall in the comity of nations,” he said.
The minister said the construction and the equipping of the edifice has in fact become a priority as the nation gradually and systematically march towards independence and self reliance from oil to non-oil exports for economic growth and development, emphasizing that no serious investor will engage in manufacturing of any product without checking for regulatory compliance to standards.
He added that the commissioning of the building could not have come at a better time than now as it would only expand the activities of the agency from the State capital to all local government areas, stressing that it would also reduce the cost and turnaround time for test results as against transporting product samples to SON laboratory facilities in Lagos or Enugu.
Adebayo lauded the efforts of the Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim for working tirelessly to see the timely competition of the State office, while also commending the initiative of the standards body in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU0 with State governments on the development and growth of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.
Earlier, the SON boss Mallam Farouk Salim said the standards body is currently on the path of closing the infrastructural gaps identified with the wholesale completion of these office/laboratory projects and the commissioning of such in consonance with the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) plan.
Salim noted that the commissioning of the office complex signifies the resolve by SON management to bequeath a functional substructure as part of the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) to every state of the Federation, pointing out that it would help improve its services by bringing it closer to the people especially in the areas of conformity assessment and laboratory testing of products to relevant standards.
He added that testing of products to relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) and International Standards by SON laboratories means products from Ekiti State and environs can compete favourably locally and through export at the international markets, especially with the ongoing implementation of the AfCTA agreement.
“In the coming weeks and months, we shall be commissioning new offices with laboratories, we shall be acquiring lands where necessary in partnership with state governments to lay the foundation stones on landed properties across the nation at identified states in a bid to bring more qualitative services to Nigerians,” he added.
He said SON is poised to bring its competencies and expertise to bear in the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), pointing out that a major out-come of the commissioning of the complex is to reposition MSMEs and the industry at large in Ekiti towards contributing to the effective implementation of the NIRP.
“In this light, SON is seeking a partnership with the Ekiti State Government to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the development of MSMEs to effectively provide tailor made solutions through implementation of standards and codes of practices for value addition through quality assurance and good manufacturing practices. A draft of the MoU will be presented to Your Excellency for the State’s input towards a formal signing at the shortest possible time,” he noted.
The SON helmsman further stated that the new office and laboratory complex will reposition standardization and quality assurance activities in the state with a view to creating the enabling environment for investments and production of goods and services to thrive.
“However, we cannot do it alone. I want to therefore make a formal request to Your Excellency, Governor Kayode Fayemi for your kind consideration of donating laboratory equipment and an additional operational vehicle to enhance our reach and technical assistance to all the nooks and crannies of the State. I also wish to crave Your Excellency’s kind support in fixing the access road to this beautiful edifice and other critical Federal Government institutions around here,” Salim said.