By Frank Odinukaeze
The frequent gas explosions that have claimed millions of lives have been attributed to sub- standard gas cylinders imported into the country.
A manufacturer and Chief Executive Officer,Techno Oil and Gas, Nkechi Obi made this disclosure at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), held in Lagos on Tuesday.
While saying that there is need for the government to ban importation of sub- standard cylinders as they are doing a lot of damage to the nation’s economy,she noted that the major challenge in the business is the influx of imported sub- standard cylinders into the country.
According to her,” There are quite a lot of challenges we are facing.The major challenge we have today is the imported sub standard cylinders in the country. That is why we have always called on the government to support us. The imported cylinders are very poor in standard and that’s why we hear of frequent gas explosions. We have been given award today,but it is not just about the award it’s about supporting us and banning sub standard imported cylinders.We try and as much as possible to meet SON’s standard.Few months ago ,we were certified with International Standard Organisation (ISO) compliance’.
Speaking to MMS Plus, Obi ,who also received award of excellence in quality manufacturing of gas cylinders and other products, expressed happiness for the award.
Her words,” Well, for all the Techno oil family,we are very excited about the award, because it is about five years ago,that we commissioned the LPG cylinder plant. And the Vice President,Yemi Osibajo, graciously commissioned that plant. And today,SON is giving us an award .An excellence award ,and that tells us that we have done well in terms of our manufacturing standards. And we are very happy to be here to receive the award.
Meanwhile,the Minister of Industry,Trade and Investment,Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo,has stated that the SON has an important role to play in facilitating trade and ensuring that local goods and services compete favorably in the international market,by guaranteeing that excellence is maintained across all production lines in the country,while stressing the need for the Agency to stick to its role of maintenance of standards.
Otunba Adeniyi who was ably represented by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment,Dr. Evelyn Ngige,who also doubles as the chairman of the Standards Council,stated this at the finale of the 50th golden jubilee anniversary celebration of the SON in Lagos .
The Minister noted that the SON’s role has become even more important now more than ever before ,as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA),has opened up the domestic market to all comers in the continent of Africa.
“SON, must therefore stick to its role in maintaining standards to support industrial development,facilitate trade and promote growth in the Nigerian economy ‘ he said.
“As vice chairman of the Presidential Enabling Business and Environmental Council(PEBEC), I am well aware of the remarkable innovation by SON that have enabled industries to accept its services in an efficient and effective manner. This has resulted in the consistent and regular high ranking of SON by the PEBEC. The consistent high ranking of SON is very heart- warming and has raised the profile of the supervising ministry,which is the Federal Ministry of Industry,Trade and Investment,as an efficient and effective trade facilitator.
The Minister noted that over the last 50 years, SON has achieved tremendous milestone,in the enhancement of quality amongst industries and markets.
“SON remains pivotal to the growth and development of Nigeria’s industry,trade and investment sector.” he said, adding that “SON, has continued to live up to the challenge of assisting with the provision of testing, effecting and facilitation of businesses to ensure that most of these industries attain internationally recognized accreditation that enables them to compete favorably in the international market. The caliber of persons here today ,is testimony to the relevance of SON ,and to the fact that they are well pleased with the performance of the Standards Organization of Nigeria”.
The Minister noted that the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the SON ,is golden.
” This celebration is golden It is 50 remarkable years of valuable contribution and impactful activities the Standards Organization of Nigeria in promoting value in every aspect of industrial production in Nigeria,as well as ensuring that products and services imported into the country are of high quality,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address,the Director General and Chief Executive Officer SON, Mallam Farouk Salim,noted that the first leg of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the SON started in Abuja and the second leg of the celebration is here in Lagos , the industrial nerve centre of the country, stressing that SON is delighted to be celebrating with captains of industry,noting that,”It is not every day that you have under one roof, the calibre of Chief Executive Officers we have today. I am humbled by your presence”he said.
The DG noted by virtue of the SON enabling Act ,SON is at the heart of Industry, seating at the pinnacle of standardisation work in Nigeria. He highlighted some of the achievements of the organisation in the last two years.
“Aware of our role in Industry, we in the last two years, concentrated on some critical areas that adds value to the industry. These areas include: Strengthening the National Metrology System, in particular raising the profile of the National Metrology Institute Enugu as a significant component in Nigeria’s overall standardisation activities.
Faithful implementation of the Nigerian National Standardisation Strategy as the framework of the development and publication of National Standards.and
increasing our technical competence in conformity assessment services through the accreditation of our product certification department”
The DG stated that Nigeria has to keep pace with global developments, and this requires new skills to manage evolving technical changes.
“Therefore, we have to change the institutional structure for education and training. One of the required changes is the teaching of standards in our schools to inculcate early enough in our youths, the need to imbibe quality as a way of life. Several studies have demonstrated that inculcating values into highly impressionable minds is more effective in promoting national development than focusing in an isolated way.
I am aware that it will be necessary to secure political support for the realization of this objective. Therefore, I urge Industry to join hands with SON in this epic and noble effort,” he stated.
Salim affirmed that the increase in the uptake of standards will greatly assist in the fight against substandard and falsified products.
He said the global substandard and falsified product industry in 2021 was estimated to be $4.3 Trillion.
“This overwhelming figure, justifies the need for a robust collaboration between SON and Industry to fight this scourge. In this regard, I urge Industry to invest substantially in brand protection activities to safeguard their intellectual property and associated brands against counterfeiters, copyright pirates and producers of substandard products. Rest assured that SON is determined to rid our marketplace of these substandard and falsified products ” he assured.
He further that,” As we confidently stride into the next 50 years and beyond, I solemnly declare, that the industry shall find in SON, a faithful and loyal partner. In return, Industry should remain steadfast in compliance with standards and government regulations as well as give maximum cooperation to SON in various initiatives intended to strengthen the Organisation”
Speaking to MMS Plus,the the new president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria(MAN), Otunba Francis Meshioye called for increased funding for SON to enable the organisation meet up with statutory responsibilities to the industry and to the nation.
He said Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement ( AFCFTA) has provided leeway for manufactures and businesses to explore and take advantage of ,but noted that acceptability of “Our products outside the country remains a challenge” he said.
Speaking also to MMS Plus,former DG of SON,Chief Joseph Odumodu,stated that SON is important to the government,but noted that, “Government has not shown adequate recognition of the importance of SON.But it still spurs people on to be doing their best because it is only people that can make the difference ,and they are the ones who do standardisation,and everything that is going on here is being done by people and I’m really impressed. Once you measure people correctly, you throw up the best people and when the best people are thrown up,the nation is making progress.And that is why I am very proud of the staff and management of SON”
Odumodu who also received award of excellence as former DG of the SON, expressed happiness with the successes that SON has recorded over time.
His words,” I can tell you that I am very excited because when you leave a place ,and you look back and you see that there is progress,being made ,you definitely will be happy”.
The high point of the event was the award of excellence to deserving individuals and organizations .Hajia Amina Abba Haliru got the most outstanding staff award in the SON,and went home with a brand new car donated by Innoson Motors.
Other recipients include,The Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria( LUPAN), Dangote Group, the Commissioner of Police Lagos state police Command, Abiodun Alabi,former DGs of the SON and other individuals and organisations.