By Femi Adekoya
The Federal Ministry of State for Industry, Trade and Investment has tasked Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the North Eastern part of the country to take advantage of the recently commissioned laboratory of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria’s (SON’s) to test their products.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, at the commissioning of SON’s North East Regional/ Bauchi State Office and Laboratory complex in Bauchi, expressed optimism that with the complex, MSMEs from the North East Zone, would in the immediate future, attain high position in the ranking of MSMEs in Nigeria, urging SON to expedite the process for the accreditation of the laboratories to the relevant standards for entities to patronise the facility while also getting value for their money.
She, however, implored the Governor of Bauchi State to engage with SON for proper certification of its facilities in order to assure both local and international tourists that the laboratory is fit for purpose.
Earlier, the Director General and Chief Executive, SON, Farouk Salim, gave reasons for siting the agency’s North-East Regional Office and Laboratory Complex in Bauchi State.
According to her, as part of a well-conceived plan, SON has completed and put into use, complexes of this nature in Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, the Federal Capital Territory and Kwara States even as similar projects in Kogi and Delta states are ongoing.
The Minister added that the strategic decision to embark on these projects is to meet the testing needs of medium, small and micro enterprises across the country.
She pointed out that the previous practice of shipping all samples to Lagos for testing was expensive and unsustainable especially for perishable items.
“Often, samples get destroyed before they reach the laboratories, when the intended tests were indeed not destructive tests,” she said.
She added that the complex would house laboratories mostly in food technology, saying that the move is understandable as the North East and in particular Bauchi State are strong in agriculture and livestock.
She said her Ministry is well aware that there is an abundant market for Nigeria’s products especially in markets with ethical consumers, saying that these markets include the Halal market which is estimated at $2.3 trillion.
In her words: “This is a market that Nigeria cannot continue to ignore, hence the decision of my Ministry to collaborate with SON in establishing the necessary procedures for the establishment of an internationally recognised Halal certification in Nigeria. I am excited to note that SON has acquired the necessary competence in this field with the training of its personnel as qualified auditors.
“In addition, the organisation was recently admitted as a member of the Standards and Metrology Institute of Islamic Countries responsible for regulating Halal certification. Let me use this opportunity to assure the SON of the support of the Federal Government for an early completion of the Halal Institute in Kano,” she assured.
Earlier, the Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, said the choice of Bauchi was informed by the disposition of its people who are great entrepreneurs in diverse aspects of commerce and industry.
“Indeed, our application for this land was treated with utmost dispatch. Your Excellency, please accept our immense gratitude for the professional manner your officials handled our application.
“When the strategic decision was made to establish this laboratory and others, in some states and the FCT, Abuja, the major factor that weighed heavily was the need to improve the turnaround time for the delivery of our laboratory services, thereby protecting the integrity of our testing systems.
“The choice of Bauchi for the North East Regional Office was quite simple and straightforward. The state is well known for the excellent disposition of its people who are great entrepreneurs in diverse aspects of commerce and industry.
“But more importantly, Bauchi was the first state in the North East to offer us land large enough for our purpose. Indeed, our application for this land was treated with utmost dispatch. Your Excellency, please accept our immense gratitude for the professional manner your officials handled our application,” he acknowledged.
Source: The Guardian