The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has announced it is prepared for the immediate implications of Nigeria’s agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) endorsement recently by the President.
It said the organisation had been working in close collaboration with other Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MADs) of government as well as development partners to develop the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) to cater for the free movement of goods and services in Africa.
According to a statement, the Director-General of SON, Mr Osita Aboloma, stated this while responding to a media interview on the AfCFTA in Abuja.
Aboloma enumerated some of the NQI projects already delivered by SON as including a National Metrology Institute(NMS) nearing completion in Enugu, international accreditation of SON laboratories, its training and management systems certification services as well as ongoing automation of all services to stakeholders.
These, he said, were aimed at promoting the Ease of Doing Business in and with Nigeria.
According to him, SON had been championing the harmonisation of standards within the ECOWAS region and the African continent through the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
Nigeria through SON holds the Chairmanship and Secretary of many of the Technical Harmonisation Committees of ARSO in addition to promoting the participation of many stakeholders in Nigeria in the standards harmonisation process, the SON helmsman disclosed.
Other preparatory steps towards the free movement of goods and services according to Aboloma include the development of Standards for artisanship such as carpentry, masonry, fashion design, painting among many others to ensure a free exchange of the services particularly within West Africa.
Aboloma, acknowledged the imminent challenge of combating the possibility of dumping of substandard and life-endangering products through the seaports since the agency was not present to at the ports to carry out quality verification of products on arrival.
He, however, stressed that SON staff would continue to deploy all strategies including the use of automation, intelligence gathering and compliance monitoring to protect Nigerian Consumers from the menace of substandard and life-endangering products within available resources.
The SON Chief Executive extolled the existing robust collaboration among sister regulatory and security agencies in the fight against substandard products but called for greater synergy.