SON introduces ‘friendly’ standards for trade

The Director-General of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Osita Aboloma, says the agency has introduced “friendly market driven standards’’ to promote trade.

The director-general, who was represented by the Acting Director, Business Support Department, SON, Mrs Margret Eshiet, spoke at a two-day 1st Nigeria Food Safety and Investment Forum on Wednesday in Lagos.

“We have seen that standards add value to businesses, not necessarily enforcement.

“At international levels, standards have come to stay. Relevant agencies of the government such as NAFDAC, Ministry of Agriculture and Quarantine services should ensure compliance of set standards,’’ he said.

Aboloma noted that the agency had come up with new standards, managed by its Business Support Department to help in the area of improving trade.

However, he added that the new standard of approach were different from the agency‘s traditional way of carrying out its mandate through monitoring and enforcement.

The SON boss who said that the old standards complied with the international guidelines which added value to the export sector; however noted that stakeholders were not fully utilising it.

“The new standard is more of advocacy carried out in such a way that stakeholders understand and appreciate it,’’ he said.

Aboloma added that the new standards cut across all the chains in the agricultural sector.

He said: “We are already in talk with the Ministry of Agriculture, NAFDAC, Nigeria Quarantine Service and others.’’

He, however, said that private sector was not strong enough to stand alone but needed the government to enable environment and technical guidelines to support them.