As NASS moves to bring SON back to the ports, borders
By Prince Okafor and Naomi Uzor
The Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, is set to partner with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to promote increased local content in the production of electrical materials, personnel and facilitate export of certified made in Nigeria products.
The General Manager, Engineering Performance and Monitoring, NERC, A.B Mohammed, made this known during a courtesy visit of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry(NESI)/Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF) delegation to the SON Operational Headquarters, Lekki, Lagos.
Mohammed, who led the delegation, commended SON for its past collaboration which engendered the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between the two organisations in 2015 as well as SON’s membership of the NESI-NCCF.
Similarly, Chairman, NERC/NCCF, Chief Henry Okolo, harped on the need for improved collaboration in the electricity sector to enhance local content as well as promote export of made-in-Nigeria products and personnel.
Okolo said that the forum is not unmindful of some agents and vendors resisting the total achievement of local content in the industry despite the signing of the presidential executive order No.5 of 2015, as a government policy to that effect.
He stated: “SON should intensify its technical support to local industries and interested parties through the application of international standards in the electrical sector as a means of sustaining the local industry and building greater capacity.
“SON should also consider setting up a Nigerian content desk to handle matters directly impacting on standards as relating to local content in the power sector.”
Responding on behalf of the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, a Director in the DG’s Office, Mr. Kabir Yusuf highlighted SON’s core mandate as including development of standards, factory inspections, testing, offshore and local conformity assessment of products, certification of management systems amongst others as means of promoting the ease of doing business initiative of the Federal Government.
He assured the NESI-NCCF delegation of SON’s preparedness to support and enhance the collaboration with NERC in achieving the best for all Nigerians and reiterated the organisation’s determination at all times to confront incidents of substandard and fake products including electrical materials as part of its mandate.
Aboloma welcomed a review of the MOU between the two agencies to strengthen the existing cooperation with a view to promoting greater local content and quality assurance in the sector to continually give value for money of the consumers, ensure repeated patronage, increased capacity utilization and job creation.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly, NASS, has vowed to bring the SON back to the ports and borders so as to curb the menace of substandard products.
Disclosing this during a visit to the SON’s laboratory, the House Committee Chairman on Industry, Dr. Dolapo Badru, who promised this said the country is overwhelmed with fake and substandard products especially those products that take lives of innocent Nigerians.
He stated: “We have been overwhelmed by fake products being dumped on us. We have standardisation, but the enforcement should be at the point of entry which is the ports and the land borders.
“There is an existing law and I wonder why the law is not complied with. We are going to get to the root of this matter. We are going to do the needful on this one. We are going to call for a hearing. We are going to invite the Director General, the Ministry to come and tell us what is really happening to the existing law which mandates SON to be at the port.
“A lot of building collapse would have been averted, probably a lot of fire outbreak would have been averted, and a lot of death would have been averted” he stressed.”
Responding the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, stated: “We appreciate your keen interest to sending us back to the ports while also creating the enabling environment for effective service delivery. If we are well positioned we will do more. The task to rid Nigeria of substandard products is a responsibility for everybody. As members of the committee on industry, you are by extension standards ambassadors.”