Stakeholders in the manufacturing and importing businesses have been charged by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to leverage the agency’s accredited laboratories to be competitive, while also boosting consumer confidence in locally made products.
Yeside Akinlabi, the deputy director, food laboratory services, SON, made the charge at a sensitisation workshop on SON laboratory services in Lagos recently.
According to her, “the sensitisation on SON laboratory services is overdue. As the apex body for standardisation, people expect so much from us. It is high time we repositioned the laboratory and we decided that the time is now to actually showcase what our SON laboratory is all about.”
She stated that without testing, the quality of a product cannot be determined, stressing that the agency’s laboratories have been repositioned to carry out any form of testing required for both local and imported products.
“Without testing, we cannot know if a product is of a good standard and this is why laboratories are key. We are calling on manufacturers to take advantage of our Laboratories to test their products. Our laboratories are open for them to bring their products for a test,” she added.
In her words: “We have more equipment to test products, this will give manufacturers confidence in whatever they are churning out into the market, while also boosting consumer confidence in whatever goods and services they buy.”
She pointed out that a lot has gone into the refurbishment and equipping of its laboratories, maintaining that SON is developing standards to ensure that consumers get value for their money spent as well as encouraging manufacturers produce in line with global best practices in order to be competitive and acceptable at the international market.
“We also need to step up to check the products coming into the country through the seaports, so this is why we equipped the laboratory with the necessary equipment so that we can curb the influx of fake and substandard goods through testing and quality assurance,” she said.
“The commissioning of our ultra-modern laboratory in Ogba is going to come up very soon, but we noticed that many stakeholders are not aware of our laboratories hence, we decided to organise the sensitisation workshop. This exercise is currently ongoing in other regions because we need to let people know our capacities and capabilities,” she said.
Also speaking at the event, Stephen Attahiru , the deputy head, Accredited Lab, Ogba, SON, said SON has expanded its laboratory services to test a wide range of products in the country.
He said this was to ensure that all goods produced locally and imported meet the minimum requirements of the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS).
He noted that the accreditation of SON’s food and chemical technology laboratories were one of the agency’s efforts at creating an enabling infrastructure for the growth of the non-oil sector and, to good effect, the diversification of the economy.
He added that the SON laboratory project at Ogba in Lagos when completed, would house well over 40 different laboratories.