By Gilbert Ekugbe
IN recent months , Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has done a lot towards making Nigeria to be one of the biggest economies in the world by doing things the right way for instance, through ensuring products quality and standards benchmarking.
Standards they say is something used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations, and obviously, without mincing words, most developed economies of the world have been able to develop their economies doing things the right way by applying standards to their everyday life.
- Driving non-oil export with standards
Over the years, Nigeria’s non-oil exports have continued to face huge level of rejections at the global scene. This is due to issues bothering on poor quality and packaging, but with recent laudable initiatives by different regulatory agencies of government, the nation’s non-oil sector has continued to grow on a steady path accounting for over 91.32 per cent of the country’s total economic output which grew by 1.45 per cent in the last three months Q4 of 2017.
The growth by the non-oil sector has been driven by improvement in quality of the non-oil commodities courtesy of NAFDAC, SON and NEPC’s unwavering support and schemes to drive the non-oil sector of the economy.
According to Osita Aboloma, the Director -General, SON, the accreditation of the global accreditation of SON’s Food and Chemical Technology Laboratories has increased the competitiveness of Nigeria’s export trade particularly agricultural produce, and is expected to considerably enhance Nigeria’s GDP.
“The introduction of these standards would be a major contribution to the implementation of government’s war against corruption, contribute to the ease of doing business in Nigeria and improve Nigeria’s ranking in the global corruption index.”
Also, SON has over the years developed standards for the entire productive sector of the economy as could be seen in the mechanical/automotive and the oil and gas sectors, building and construction materials where remarkable achievements have been made especially on some automotive components, LPG Cylinders and reinforcement bars.
- Another Milestone
Prior to 1986, the Nigerian market was flooded with substandard imported electric cables, but SON in collaboration with indigenous cable manufacturers put stringent measures in place to ensure that the requisite standards for cables made in Nigeria were developed and complied with.
The result of that painstaking effort is that cables made in Nigeria are adjudged to be among the best in the world.
It’s not surprising that Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, recently commended SON for promoting the federal government’s initiative on ease of doing business in the country thereby going as far as incorporating SON, NAFDAC, BOI and other government agencies to act as a one stop shop to effectively implement the Executive Order on the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
The Vice President reiterated that two executive orders signed on Ease of Doing Business and Local Content were to ensure that business transactions would be carried out seamlessly to accentuate governments resolve in boosting the nation’s economy through small businesses.
- Anti-Bribery Standards
Bribery is a widespread phenomenon that raises serious social, moral, economic and political concerns; it undermines good governance hinders development and distorts competition.
In view of this, SON recently launched a campaign against bribery and corruption and said “SON has decided to support federal government’s anti-corruption crusade with the adoption of the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System Standard for use in Nigeria.
“Bribery is the single most contributory factor to corruption. It could lead to loss of lives and property, destruction of trust in institutions and interference with the fair and efficient operations of markets,” its Director-General said.
According to him, the Anti-Bribery standard alongside the Nigerian Industrial Standards on Good Governance (NIS 902:2017) can therefore be proactive tools to drastically reduce the incidence of corruption in the country alongside the anti-corruption laws.
“Since bribery and the way organizations are governed are the most contributory factors to corruption, therefore, these standards offer the country with an opportunity to use the global tools to support the fight against corruption,” he said.
SON Acting Director, Standards Development Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, disclosed that the Technical Committee for Good Governance Standard and the project committee for the Anti-bribery Standard have been merged to align with the ISO Technical Committee 309 on governance of organizations.
“The Technical Committee is expected to initiate national projects that will address Nigeria’s peculiar governance issues, work with the ISO TC309 and submit Nigeria’s comments and inputs on current works of the Technical Committee and working groups to the secretariat of the Technical Committee”, She stated.
On his own part, Chairman of the Project Committee and former Governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor said: “ Nigeria is ahead of the international community in the development of the Good Governance Standard, noting that work on the standard at ISO only commenced in November 2017.”
Osunbor re-stated that the introduction of the standards would be a major contribution to the implementation of government’s war against corruption, contribute to the ease of doing business in Nigeria and improve Nigeria’s ranking in the global corruption index.