*Many successes, achievements revealed
From Obiora Orji
There have been several principles and broad objectives which from all good indications have driven the thinking and policy direction of the current Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Director General in the all efforts to rev up solid development architecture of its institution’s core mandate which has led to flourishing delivery of its mandate within set deadlines.
Perhaps it may not be unconnected with his profound depth in legal jurisprudence alone. Barrister Osita Anthony Aboloma has remained a development creaser spanning over three decades. His legitimate and professional interface with top Nigerian multi billionaires in oil and gas, import, export, auto, transport and other numerous to mention were all paying off heavily in terms of cumulative wealth of experience and the requisite pool of exposure needed in the daunting task before SON.
Part of these shining attributes from benefit of hindsight is paying off presently. To say the least, that Nigerian economy is characterised by structural challenges in the service provision and manufacturing which has haemorrhaged for years now, inhibiting growth in the sector, wealth, job creation in several industry clusters, poverty and other numerous multiplier effect in the sector are all gradually easing off.
Also, in line with the Economic Recovery Growth Plan proposition which aims to address numerous issues through the diversification of the huge concentration of government revenues that is highly dependent on the oil and gas sector, it is heart-warming to understand that the manufacturing sector with Trade and Investment which is at the epicenter of standardisation is conscientiously raising the bar-by-the-day exponentially in more ways than meets the eyes through the magic wand of Aboloma.
In further deconstructing his visible achievements and some trajectories of the organisation, raising awareness of the benefits of certification and quality assurance services have remained very consistent in the face of daunting challenges of paucity of funds to prosecute its lofty programmes.
While the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is faced by interplay of operational challenges and success factor, enforcement, compliance as well as assessment using some highly technological equipment, the Organisation finds it’s self sometimes in several gymnastics of manufacturer’s flip-flop in terms of inconsistency in conformity and standardisation which risks Aboloma’s harmer.
However, apart from other gamut of risks its operations are associated with from both the outer and inner circle forces respectively; compliance is gaining traction and many eyes can see that in the last 12 months, the tide has changed for better from local SME, rural manufacturers to fully established production firms across the country.
The delivery unit of the organisation both the operations and other gate keepers has maintained steady rise in quality assurance processes through its fully integrated strategies under the leadership of the new Director General.
A thorough understanding of SONs success factor and attempt to fathom its inner workings has remained a mirage to many but uncompromisingly in a very handy strategy that is silent, straight and simple. This takes us to the true fact that idea rules the world. SON’s department charged with the responsibility of establishing and maintaining robust quality challenge-mechanisms and effective issue-resolution processes has been very productive of result in line with the overall plan of the organisation.
The key issue in its standards deliverability is the internal coherence of monitoring, supervision and use of carrot and stick mechanisms. As part of efforts aimed at tackling corruption of manufacturers, its broad strategic objectives, restoring sustainable standardisation and accelerating inclusive growth and development for a globally competitive manufacturing economy, the current SON management is very commendable as seen in this regards. SON has equally prioritise key turnaround interventions in the manufacturing sector and enablers to generate concrete, visible impact in terms of standardisation thereby supporting in achieving macro-economic stability; economic growth and diversification; competitiveness and healthy business environment good governance and security.
By so doing, it is providing a multi-pronged agenda silently and steadily to tackle corruption in manufacturing, improve security and re-build the economy; SON is keying into the improvement on public and private sector efficiency towards increased national productivity, sustainable diversification of production, food chain, energy and security leveraging on quality through its mandate and priorities to scale up economic recovery:
To give customers and stakeholder’s greater assurance, the competence and impartiality of SON’s team has nationwide been assessed and confirmed by independent accreditation bodies. They are assessed against strict criteria that conform to internationally recognised standards. It is the same system that SON deploys for its independent accreditation just like it aligns its standards ISO to be managed by the IAF which enables government, businesses, consumers and others to have confidence in certifications provided by SON accredited certification body. For instance, with IIOC members certifying a huge range of companies around the world, case studies provide illustrations of the benefits they can gain from accredited certification which in similar manner the SON here in Nigeria is fully identified with.
As a tool, accredited certification to management systems standards, SON has continued to engage several ranges of other public bodies maximising its best opportunity to deliver their public policy trust and commitments. They have been in the forefront of leading organisations on standards and pontificating what organisations can expect to gain from accredited certification through generic examination of the value of standards by deploring studies from a number of leading economies on the macro-economic value delivered by standards as can be seen even in its recent event marking the world standards day at the International Conference centre in Abuja.
The value of these standards to overall national economy has been measured in a whole range of ways. One common methodology has been to quantify the macroeconomic value of standards to an economy. SON is currently providing better platform for business assurance double-digit-organic growth through Standardisation, appreciable percentage of organic growth in Certification and Business Enhancement supports.
In its overall group organic growth SON performance has continued to rise even as it has also continued to express worry on how best to deliver confidence in several other sectors of our economy including construction, other business environment ideation for whipping them on the line.
As earlier observed, recently, the International Conference Centre Abuja witnessed what equally happened in Singapore within the same week and world over towards realising smart nation vision. While here in Nigeria SON demonstrated how the manufacturing, healthcare and
other service providers as well as industries are embracing digital transformation to revolutionise their businesses in Nigeria as it is also the case in Singapore.
The discussions took place during the one-day conference titled ‘Smart Nation in Singapore, and Smart City in Nigeria thereby simultaneously inspiring trust in a changing world’.
SON has develop policy and set rules relating to accredited certification and has vigilantly monitor these activities and provides input, contributions and leadership to ensure developments benefit to the certification industry and most importantly, its customers and clients. SON has maintained a strong Management Systems for Food Safety, this year’s Smart City General Assembly at ICC was real superb at that, its Strategic Alliance and Regulatory Group were all very hardworking.
The DG’s Policy and Coordination group all demonstrated painstaking efforts in delivering on the set targets, just like NAFDAC of the then late sage Prof Dora Akunyili, SONs (requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of food safety management systems) has remained very visible, its Technical Committee are very committed, with Validation and Verification at the centre of it all, Its Communications & Publications Committee to ensure that Nigerians are well informed are all responsibly working hard including its Communications and Marketing Committee.
There is a Horizontal Harmonization Committee charged with the responsibility of performance
appraisal and monitoring of SONs activities, it also has Governance Task for proper application of set rules and guidelines. SON under Aboloma has UKAS Management System Certification Working Group 0026, ISO 9001:2008 as part of its certificate of registration.
Accredited Laboratory A2LA on food technology laboratory for chemical testing all with recognised international standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005-the general requirement for competence of testing and
calibration laboratories, on Person(s) Certification Working Group, it has Medical Devices Working Group, Conformity Assessment Schemes, Task Force, Control of Entities Operating on behalf of Accredited Certification Bodies, Task Force, Use of Computer Assisted Auditing Techniques (CAAT) for Accredited Certification of Management Systems (MD4), others include; Task Force, Competence of AB (Accreditation Body) Assessors and Experts, Task Force, Greenhouse Gases & Energy (ISO 14065) Working Group, Product Certification (ISO/IEC 17065) Working Group, Rethinking Peer Evaluations, Integrated Audits (revision of MD11) Task Force, Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems (OH&SMS), it also has Task Force, CABAC (Conformity Assessment Body Advisory Committee), Technical Committee, Food (ISO 22000) Working Group, Multi-Site & MD1 Task Force.
Also SON under Aboloma has recently announced plans to deal decisively with fake and substandard electronics come 2018. From privilege and informed source, SON currently plans setting up a Nigerian Accreditation) Conformity Assessment Bodies College, what other fantastic innovation in SON will we witness? That is only God through Aboloma can answer for our generation.
Obiora Orji is a Senior Media Executive and public affairs analyst based in Abuja