… Stakeholders Task FG On Funding
As the new Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim assumed office, stakeholders including manufacturers, professionals and economic experts have called of the Federal Government to properly fund the agency to enable it discharge its key duties effectively.
While they lauded the Federal Government for appointing a core professional to run the agency saddled with the task of ensuring that Nigeria is free from substandard adulterated goods, the stakeholders stated in their different congratulatory messages that only improved budgetary funding and mobilization of adequate resources would enable the new SON boss to build and consolidate on the gains made by his predecessors.
While acknowledging the appropriateness of Salim’s appointment as SON DG at a time like this, taking cognizance of his robust profile which places him at a vantage position to carry out this critical assignment, the stakeholders further set what some of them described as ‘the urgent agenda’ needed to focus on as he kicks the ball rolling.
Muda Yusuf, Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the key areas the new SON DG should focus on is intelligence. “This is because without intelligence, the enforcers cannot catch up with the criminals that perpetuate the production and importation of substandard products. So, strengthening of intelligence is very crucial and this requires support of and collaboration of the private sector,” he said.
“We will also like to see better logistics for the staff and better security for them, because the task of stopping the criminal elements involved in the production and circulation of substandard products is a very risky assignment. So to primarily reduce the risks involved, the new DG will need to collaborate with the security agencies to provide adequate security cover for the officials of SON.
“We would also like to see stronger enforcement, stronger compliance among all the critical stakeholders, particularly in the private sector. This requires high level of discipline among the officials; it requires that the officials didn’t compromise. Also, in order to improve the resources available to him, he will need to collaborate with the relevant agencies of the government and the private sector to put pressure on the government to strengthen the capacity of SON with the desired resources so that things will work out better,” he added.
Yusuf also assured that LCCI’s doors are open to SON for collaboration and support because “we see SON as a partner. It is in the interest of the investors in the economy to see that SON is supported to do its job. This is because we need to bring sanity to the business environment. We need to do away with all these substandard and fake products. All these things bring a lot of image and reputation problems for us as a country. It also damages the image of well-known brands in the system. So, we are ready to cooperate with him; our doors are open for SON.”
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), in a statement signed by its President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, and National Secretary, Emeka Duru, described Salim as “the best choice to curb the influx of sub-standard and life-endangering goods infiltrating the country.”
The professional body said “the nation needed a detailed oriented individual with the ability to listen, observe, research, consult, and administer solutions to the pressing challenge at ports and borders.”