By Merit Ibe
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is optimistic that its newly accredited laboratories will boost the nation’s manufacturing industry and increase the level of export of locally made goods to the international market.
Director General, Mallam Farouk Salim, stated this at the unveiling of the organisation’s three accredited laboratories in Ogba, Lagos.
The laboratories were accredited after the successful completion of evaluation processes by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) in accordance with recognised international standards.
According Salim, the accredited labs would encourage manufacturers produce more, saying that products certified and tested in the labs would receive global acceptance anywhere in the world.
“You hear most of our manufacturers say that their products were rejected even by our local companies because their products are not certified. They do not have laboratory certificate to show they are up to standard, but now, that excuse is out of the way. Also, because of the export potentials of our industries, with the certification, it is easy for them to export anywhere in the world because an accredited laboratory means that whatever we say is good, is good.
“It gives the nation credibility, it gives our manufacturers credibility, and it saves our foreign currency because they do not have to go to neighbouring countries to get their products certified anymore, so it is a win-win situation for everybody.”
The DG also stated that with the accredited laboratories, Nigerian products would be accepted anywhere in the world, while also increasing the level of confidence of both local and foreign consumers of made-in-Nigeria goods.
While calling on Nigerians especially operators and manufacturers to patronise the facilities, he expressed hope that there would be drastic reduction of rejections of Nigeria export products. “What we have on ground are accredited laboratory facilities for testing, analyses and certifications of certain essential products such as electricals, chemicals as well as agricultural produce.
In order to be acceptable and competitive, Nigeria’s products need to meet stipulated global standards.
“We are allowed to export to the United States, now with the accreditation showing that our products are up to standard, it means it would be easier for exporters to export to America and every other country in the world, so it makes things easier because there is legitimacy and authentication. Consumers abroad will have the confidence to buy goods coming from Nigeria because the certification shows that the goods have been tested and verified okay for consumption,” he added.
Salim said there are plans to establish more laboratories in the country in a bid to ensure that goods can be tested anywhere in the country, enjoining stakeholders in the industry to contribute their quota in its quest to build more world class laboratories in the country.
“Our main plan is that in every state, there should be a minimum of some laboratory activity that can be done, because we do not want people travelling from one State to another because of testing. The three laboratories is a step forward especially with the AfCFTA in full force, foreign invasion of goods and it is really important that our local manufactured goods are not only certified, but assured to be up to standards end the rejection of locally made goods,” he added.
Delivering her good will message, the Deputy Director, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, (FIIRO), Dr. Adebukola Huthman, commended the standards body for unveiling the accredited laboratories, saying getting an accreditation is not an easy feat especially in a country like Nigeria.
“I know what you had to go through to achieve this, but to go ahead to meet the tough requirements means that SON has done lots of beautiful work and it also shows that their results have a lot of integrity and there is high confidence in their result,” she said.
“An accredited laboratory means that Nigeria has the same standards with other countries in the world. SON’s laboratories are among the very few accredited laboratories in the world,” she added.
Also speaking, the Head, Planning, Research and Statistics, Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN), Mr. Emmanuel Odega, said to have three laboratories accredited the same time is not an easy achievement, saying that SON and IPAN have come a very long way especially in preparation of standards.
“The entire Nigeria is proud of what you are doing. Accreditation assures that your goods carry the same quality with any other country in the world and that is a boost to the economy, it will help to earn foreign exchange for the country because some of the products currently being taken away outside the shores of the country for testing will be stopped,” he added.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, Paints Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Jude Maduka, said the accreditation would ensure that made-in-Nigeria goods compete favourably in the AfCFTA, stressing that the laboratories would strengthen SON’s testing capabilities.