The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has charged Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) to up their ante on standards to attain the goal of the home-grown economic agenda of the federal government.
The director-general of the organization, Mallam Farouk Salim, made the remark yesterday at the general sensitization and training for MSMEs, with the theme: ‘Products Competitiveness: Driving Home-Grown Economy Via Standardization’.
Salim noted that, competition is what drives the world today, adding that, in every sphere of life, there is serious competition going on and so, if one has to compete, it means one must be ready, prepared and equipped to compete actively, effectively and profitably.
Charging participants that the ball is rolling in their courts towards harnessing the benefits of the Free Trade Zone, Salim pointed out that, “the county requires local products that are borderless; products that Nigerians in the Diaspora, quite millions of them, can patronize; standard and quality products that are acceptable and competitive anywhere across the world, particularly in Africa, now that we are preparing for the common market- African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Nigeria, the giant should not ‘carry last’ in AfCFTA.”
Applauding the training, Salim explained that, product competitiveness requires that the particular product must have been manufactured or produced in accordance with good manufacturing practice. He appreciated the efforts of MSMEs towards growing their businesses and developing the economy.
He emphasized that sub-standard products pose grave dangers not only to lives and property but to economic development of any country, standardization results in industrial and economic growth, global acceptability and competitiveness of locally made products and overall national development and security, among others, saying that ‘these are why SON insists on standards adherence for MSMEs across the country.’
Also, chairman, the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Adams Adebayo, applauded the programme, saying, this is the time the country needs standardisation, so that products can be widely accepted.
For his part, president, Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN), Iche Saviour, said there cannot be standardization without money; small businesses need loans with low interest rates to thrive.
“MSMEs have been neglected in the country. Government is going around the world canvassing for foreign investors, while local businesses are not encouraged. The MSMEs are in a coma and need to be resuscitated,” he said.
Vice chairman, Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) Lagos, Gertrude Akhimien, said MSMEs were going through a lot now.
She lamented that, “many small businesses have produced new products in the market that were not familiar with Nigerians and pleaded with SON to reach out to them and help develop standards for these new products as we move on to AfCFTA.”
Akhimien pointed out the need for industrial hubs to help small businesses to upscale production.