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SON to train journalists on ISO, management courses

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By Onyema Uwalaka, Lagos

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is set to equip journalists with the requisite skills on International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

It said that the training was imperative as it would help the media industry understand the benefits of ISO to the national economy in developing standards to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of products, services and systems.

The director general, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, disclosed this at a capacity workshop for journalists in Lagos.

He also urged the media to practise investigative journalism, taking into cognisance creativity and authenticity to write stories that would change the narratives of the country.

He pointed out that the essence of the workshop was to appreciate the media and their contribution to the progress of the agency and the country in general.

“We are also using this medium to interact and discuss issues that bother both the media and the standards body,” he said.

On the level of seizures made so far, the SON boss added that its level of seizures has increased tremendously, stressing that responses from stakeholders and market associations indicate that SON was winning the war against substandard goods.

  His words: “The stakeholders’ response is very good and recently we have studies where steel products quality has also increased very much as we get this information from contractors and dealers.

  “We are getting very good responses from stakeholders and the markets about the quality of steel products and cables.”

  He also reaffirmed SON’s commitment to strengthen its partnership with the media, while urging journalists to also act as vanguards in its fight against fake and substandard goods.

He further disclosed that SON has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Katsina State government to develop the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state, stressing that discussions were also ongoing to take the gospel of standardisation to Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi and Sokoto to make SMEs competitive.

Besides, the director, Standards Development, Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, said that the Nigeria National Standardisation Strategy (NNSS) introduced last year with a three-year implementation plan had so far identified 658 standardisation projects to be developed before the end of 2023.

She said that the NNSS aims to support the federal government’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan and Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), while urging Nigerian manufacturers to produce good products and follow it up with good packaging, as the SON would not allow substandard goods to either leave the country or exist in Nigeria, as it would enable them to compete favourably with other manufacturers from any part of the world.

Farouk noted that the SON had done enough sensitisation and had carried out enforcements to nip sub-standard goods in the bud.

He said: “Efforts are being made to improve standard of products and eliminate substandard goods in the country. We have done enough enforcement, discussed about how to stop all these things that are entering our country. We are working tirelessly both within, outside and underground, to improve activities of the organisation so that it can serve the country better.

“This is very important, because we have the new African free trade, where goods will be crossing borders without too much hindrances.

“So, what that means for our country is, if our manufacturers are not producing standard goods, they will not cross over to the other countries, because other countries will set standards too and they will expect goods coming to their countries to be up to standard.

“So it is our responsibility as the SON to make sure our goods in this country are up to standard. We must make sure that substandard goods in the markets decrease. Governments should make sure that there are consequences and sanctions against any products or persons producing substandard products.”

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