SON reviews mandatory certification coding system to tackle abuse
Following discoveries bordering on the abuse of its Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) and the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) certificate by local manufacturers, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has announced plans to launch a new coding system for MANCAP in the country.
The Director-General, SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu said local manufacturing will not be the usual practice where manufacturers treat the MANCAP certificate with levity, maintaining that the new coding system will bring about transparency, confidence and sanity in the manufacturing sector of the economy. “In the next one month, we are coming up to launch a new MANCAP coding.
These are all some of the changes that are coming as a result of the gaps we saw in our system and to be able to close them,” he said. He however stated that the organisation’s certified factory Inspectors will help to ensure transparency, professionalism while also boosting the confidence of stakeholders and consumers when purchasing a locally-made product.
We are trying to interrogate our programmes because we found out that there were some gaps in the system and we needed to re-tool the process.
We also want to ensure that people are well trained to do the job. If you really have to certify products, the first thing you have to do is to re-certify yourself.
We also found out that a person who is an expert in food, will go to do testing in cement and if that process is certified, it really does not carry the mandate of the SON. “You will recall that several months ago, we suspended factory inspections which we believe would have affected the local certification called MANCAP.
The reason why we did that was because of issues of transparency and even more importantly, issues of lack of expertise. We also observed that the private sectors did not take the MANCAP seriously.
Today, I want to confirm to you that the MANCAP is not just mandatory but backed by law”, he added. According to the SON boss, the agency can now boast of transparency, expertise and competence courtesy of its certified factory inspectors who had gone through rigorous training on international best practices to ensure that every locally manufactured product conforms to standard.
We have observed that anytime we go to the factories for inspection, the samples we take are always conforming but when you go to the market to test these products, they do not conform to the specification of the standards and yet, these are people who hold the Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) mark of quality.
This is one of the reasons why we also embarked of this certification programme,” he said. He pointed out that the terms and conditions of the certification also checks the excessive sampling of its inspection exercises, saying that it gives manufacturers the information about the level of samples that can be collected for laboratory analysis.
He advised the newly certified factory inspectors to guide and guard their badges, saying that if anybody commits any offence with the badge, the official to which the badge has been assigned would face the wrath of the law. “These badges are not transferable.
If you are tired of being a certified factory inspector, you must return the badge to us so that we can remove your name from our list of certified factory inspectors.
I want to assure our stakeholders that they will receive a brand new service from our very distinguished professionals in SON who will make a difference in the certification of Nigerian products,” he said Also, the Director, Field Service, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadir said SON has always been a partner to MAN noting that without SON, members of the association will not thrive in their businesses. “This certification demonstrates that in this part of the world, we can have integrity, confidence and also have the capacity to predict what is likely to happen to you.
We have had situations where people that are not certified visit our factories to certify our products, but now we are confident because if we see the badges of these factory inspectors we can be sure we are dealing with the right person.
For us in MAN, we believe this is change and this is what the environment wants,” he said A stakeholder representing CAP Plc, Mrs. Chidinma Buoro, said: “For us, we have been worried about the absence of SON to our factories by making several calls and sending mails to SON because we know their inspection is a quarterly routine to check for quality.
We are happy that they are coming in a different way. By the time we go through the terms and conditions of the certification, we will know what is expected of us as manufacturers.
We are happy to be part of this programme and we are assuring SON that we will always meet the standards.” One of the certified factory inspector, Olatunji Salau said the training was very rigorous one aimed at improving factory inspection operations.