The former Director-General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Dr Joseph Odumodu, has said that one of the major landmark achievements the agency attained during his leadership was the significant reduction of substandard products in the country from 85 per cent to 30 per cent, while the organization has accumulated N3.3 billion in the Treasury Savings Account (TSA) as at February, 2016.
While giving a an account of his stewardship during year tenure at the handing over ceremony held in Abuja, Odumodu said the agency was able to grow its internally generated revenue which dropped to N1.5 billion in 2012 as a result of the agency’s removal from the ports to NN6.4 billion in 2015.
Odumodu explained that the baseline study conducted on his assumption of office in 2011 revealed that the prevalence of substandard consumer goods imported into Nigeria was more than 85 per cent under regimes of poorly implemented standards conformity assessment program (SONCAP).
He said the public also had a poor perception and negative image on the activities and the mandate of the agency pointing out that lack of standard testing laboratories, lack of global certification of local products as a standard body by the international community and lack of competent middle level manpower were some of the challenges he inherited.
Others he highlighted include dearth of quality infrastructure, infrastructural decay, poor and inadequate facilities including office space, financial leakages and corruption within the system, substandard building materials which led to incessant cases of building collapse, almost non-performance and weak SON Act that allows importers of fake products t continue their deadly practice with impunity and lack of standard laboratories for testing and certification of products.
His words: ”We met an organisation that was indeed in dire need of salvaging and activation for proper positioning to enable it deliver on its mandate of making Nigeria’s landscape free from life endangering products.”
Odumodu said major interventions had to be put in place which had today placed the agency at par with standard regulatory agencies all over the world. He said any product that is certified by the agency can now be acceptable anywhere around the globe.
He said the organisation got international accreditation for food technology laboratories at Lekki in Lagos during his tenure adding that the agency’s laboratories could now help to reduce the rejection of the nation’s products, especially agro-allied commodities at the global export market. He added that the organisation has attracted more investments by sanitising the cables sub sector, which hitherto caused high rate inferno in buildings.
”All over the world, we know that Nigeria’s cable is the best.”
He said the agency had seized and destroyed more than N10 billion worth of counterfeit products and had enforced compliance to international best practice in the face of threats to the lives of staff.
”Chasing containers, raiding warehouses and companies to look for substandard products expose us to dangers and threats to personal safety and property but we continued to do that in order to maintain standard.”
He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to address the market glut in the steel sector by making Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to patronise locally-produced iron bars which were now of high quality.
He also advised staff of the organisation to be committed toward enforcing standard in goods and services, stressing that “we have developed a process that will ultimately lead to certification of all government agencies and processes.
“This process will ensure that government processes become sustainable and predictable in terms of cost, timing of service delivery and consumer-focus.’
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