SON bill passes second reading in Senate

A bill seeking stiffer punishments for importers of sub-standard products into Nigeria, passed second reading in the Senate on Tuesday.

The bill also seeks to repeal and re-enact the standard Organisation of Nigeria, Act 2004, for the purpose of providing additional functions for the organisation, increase penalty for violation and other related matters.

The sponsor, Senator Nenadi Usman, explained that the main objective of the bill was to place the SON, on a firmer footing to enable Nigeria fully realize the advantages of standardisation.

Usman noted that since its establishment of SON in 1971, its  enabling act had been tinkered with on three occasions in the past by the parliament.

She added that the fundamental reasons for the various changes were the desires to “continually place the organisation in a better position to enable it to discharge its functions effectively.”

Usman said, “The overall objectives of the amendment bill is to further enhance the ability of SON to effectively carry out its statutory responsibilities in the areas of procurement process, compulsory product recall, pre-shipment verification of conformity and standard marks”

She stated that some Federal Government agencies like the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, Nigerian Communications Commission, and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, had usurped the primary responsibility of SON.

She also said that by the act establishing SON, it was the custodian and overseer of observance of standards in the country.

She said, “By the act establishing the SON, it is the primary standards body in Nigeria and the focal point and member of the International Organsiation for Standardization, ISO.

“SON is therefore the custodian and overseer of observance of standards in Nigeria. Over the years however, some sectors specific regulators were established by the Federal Government. These include agencies such as NAFDAC, NCC, NESREA, and so on.

“Some of these agencies have tended to usurp the primary responsibility of SON in standards development and elaboration.

“It is in order to avoid chaos on issue of standards development that amendment of the bill becomes important.”

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