June 24, 2024

Trade ministry seeks increased funding to SON

Industry, trade ministry seeks increased funding to SON

*DG, SON, Dr Ifeanyi Okeke (right) and Director, Industrial Inspectorate department, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (left) during SON retreat for its top management team in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Ini Billie, Uyo

The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has called on the Federal Government to increase funding to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

The Ministry said increased funding for the agency would enable it to carry out its assignments and optimize its operations in line with international best practices.

Speaking on Wednesday in Uyo during a Strategic Leadership Retreat on the theme, “Service Optimization, Greater Effectiveness and Revenue Enhancement for a Renewed Future”, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, through the Permanent Secretary, Amb. Nura Abba Rimi said it wants SON to operate digitally and be able to carry out product authentication.

Rimi who was represented by the Director, Industrial Inspectorate department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Anietie Umoessien, called for the return of SON to the ports to authenticate products.

“We want SON to be a new SON, an e-SON, a SON that has a product authentication mark. The main function of SON is standardisation of products and you see with the new Presidential initiative for CNG, SON had already standardised for CNG products, about 87 of them.

“So, we would carry SON about up to the next optimal level to be able to compete with other products in the world.

“The DG of SON is fantastic; he has brought in a lot of ideas. Funding is one of the major challenges of SON, so we encourage the FG to give SON more funds for them to be able to carry out their assignments like the product authentication mark is a good initiative. You have your product, authenticate it, and that is it. There will be no issue of fake iron rods, or fake products, you authenticate it directly.

“We want to do a one-stop shop. SON should be allowed to go back to the port. SON at the moment is not at the port, so they should be able to go back to the port so that all the products would be authenticated before they get into the market,” she stated.

While speaking, Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr Ifeanyi Chukwunonso Okeke said the essence of the retreat was for top management staff of the agency to strategise on how to tackle the challenges facing the organisation and move it forward, especially the implementation of the Presidential initiative on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu during his inaugural speech last year mentioned an alternative source of energy to substitute for petroleum products whose prices have been going up. He came up with the CNG and one of the promises he made to the Labour union is that he is going to roll out the CNG.

“We came on board, we collaborated with the Presidential initiative on CNG, that is, Compressed Natural Gas, and the first thing we have to do first before any roll-out of CNG is to have a standard. And that standards have been developed and recently been approved by the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.

“It doesn’t just end with the standard; we also have to talk about the implementation. SON on its own, is collaborating with the relevant agencies, we have the Nigeria Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Nigeria Automotive Design and Development Council, and the Presidential Initiative on CNG.

“We are all collaborating to ensure a successful rollout of the CNG projects,” he stated.

Okeke who outlined the agency’s achievements in seven and a half months of being DG listed the plans of SON to include: making standardization and quality assurance the core of its activity, transforming its laboratory facilities and services to be world-class, focusing on revenue, full automation and integration of all processes and procedures leading to the improvement in its services.

Others are: bringing its services closer to the people, making the system run successfully and sustainably on its own, positioning SON in the forefront for all certifications for imports, exports and locally manufactured products and services, entrenching fairness and equity in all its dealings, make staff appraisal majorly on performance and service delivery, and create a committed and motivated workforce.

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