Newly appointed Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON),Mallam Farouk Salim have been told to address the challenge of substandard importation of both finished products and raw materials alike, and to remain focus in improving the integrity of local manufactured goods.
This is even as manufacturers, professionals and economic experts have called of the Federal Government to properly fund the agency to enable it discharge its key functions effectively, even as they lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointee of Salim, who they describe as a core industry professional.
The stakeholders in their goodwill messages to Salim who assumed office recently, urged the federal government to ensure that there is improved budgetary allocation for SON to enable it have the right funds to address its key obligations like mobilization, awareness creation and monitoring in other to consolidate on the gains already recorded by his predecessors.
According to the Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, “The key areas the new SON DG should focus on first include, deepening of intelligence; this is because without intelligence, the enforcers cannot catch up with the criminals that perpetuate the production and importation of substandard products. So, strengthening of intelligence is very crucial and this requires support of and collaboration of the private sector.
“We will also like to see better logistics for the staff and better security for them, because the task of stopping the criminal elements involved in the production and circulation of substandard products is a very risky assignment. So to primarily reduce the risks involved, the new DG will need to collaborate with the security agencies to provide adequate security cover for the officials of SON.
“We will also like to see stronger enforcement, stronger compliance among all the critical stakeholders, particularly in the private sector. This requires high level of discipline among the officials; it requires that the officials didn’t compromise. Also, in order to improve the resources available to him, he will need to collaborate with the relevant agencies of the government and the private sector to put pressure on the government to strengthen the capacity of SON with the desired resources so that things will work out better.”
The LCCI boss also assured the SON new helmsman that its doors are open for collaboration and support because “we see SON as a partner. It is in the interest of the investors in the economy to see that SON is supported to do its job.
“This is because we need to bring sanity to the business environment. We need to do away with all these substandard and fake products. All these things bring a lot of image and reputation problems for us as a country. It also damages the image of well-known brands in the system. So, we are ready to cooperate with him; our doors are open for SON.”
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) also has high expectations for the new DG of SON. The professional organisation expects one of their own to, among others, position the agency at a pedestal on which it would effectively “curb influx of sub-standard, life-endangering goods infiltrating Nigeria.”
In a statement, signed by its President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, and National Secretary, Emeka Duru, respectively, PSN described the new DG as “a thoroughbred pharmacist with the pedigree to pilot the affairs of SON,
“Salim, a certified pharmacist, has a vision of bringing changes by promoting public safety and the role of standards in local manufacturing and creating an enabling environment for innovations that will stimulate national self-sufficiency. He is also the best choice to curb the influx of sub-standard and life-endangering goods infiltrating the country.”
The professional body said “the nation needed a detailed oriented individual with the ability to listen, observe, research, consult, and administer solutions to the pressing challenge at ports and borders.”
A cross section of other interested individuals and groups lauded Salim’s appointment by Buhari as one recent appointment that is professionally advised and sound, noting that as a pharmacist, the new DG SON is expected to bring his core competencies in quality assurance and management to bear on this institution positioned to play a leading role in the drive for national socio-economic recovery.
It is believed that Salim is taking up this critical national assignment at a time when resuscitation of the national economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic demands strict and well supervised guidance of local production and distribution of quality products that would not only meet local demand but also nurture competitive export market.
A 1985 graduate of Pharmacy from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Salim proceeded to the Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, for his Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) between 1997 and 1999.