The Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma, has said plans were underway to establish 13 laboratories with focus mainly on live endangering items, agric and agro-allied products, in order to aid diversification of the nation’s economy away from oil.
The SON boss disclosed this when the Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment visited the agency as part of its oversight function in Lagos.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sam Egwu, explained that SON remained vital to achieving the present administration’s Executive Order 003 aimed at providing support for local content in public procurement by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, [MDAs] as well as increasing the demand for locally made goods and services in the country.
Egwu said promoting Made-in-Nigeria goods could only be achieved through SON’s quality assurance programmes and activities across the nation, restating the committee’s commitment to support SON to achieve its mandate of safeguarding lives through standards.
“We have visited other laboratories outside this country and compared to what we have seen outside the country, I will say that SON has come to stay. A lot of mileage has been achieved since our last visit in 2018.
“Within a period of seven months, it is good to see that staff have moved into the laboratory and almost all the laboratories are in operation which is a good development.
“Apart from maintaining the standards, you must also ensure that the staffs are properly equipped to carry out their operations and they should also be trained on the job to be abreast of global trend of standardisation. Standards need to be up-scaled at every time, so they need to be very versatile and proactive,” he said.
But Aboloma added: “The Ogba laboratory complex is the biggest single laboratory complex in Sub-Saharan Africa. We have about 35 laboratories with 28 of it installed. Some of our laboratories have international accreditation up to ISO 17025 to show competence and position us for other activities in conformity assessment programmes.”
He disclosed that the Federal Government recently made it compulsory that all MDAs must look inwards to certify their processes and patronize SON’s certification processes, saying that this was in line with the Executive Order 003 of 2018 to patronise local content as well as conserve hard earned foreign exchange spent on achieving global certifications abroad.
“This achievement would not have been possible without the support of the Senate committee appropriating funds as and when due. Each of our operations in the laboratory is being done in accordance to global best practices.
Our laboratories here are equipped to test products that will be acceptable anywhere in the world.
We believe that with the accreditation of these laboratories, the rejection of our products at the international markets will be a thing of the past,” he stated.