SON seeks adoption of ADR mechanisms for trade

Standards Organisation of Nigeria

To save costs and mitigate the suspension of economic activities that may arise from enforcing its statutory regulatory functions against importers of sub-standard goods to the country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), may soon deploy Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in resolving several disputes.

Although the general provisions in the new SON Act has empowered  the agency to prosecute perpetrators of substandard products manufacture, importation and distribution while also providing stiffer penalties for convictions including jail terms, the agency is exploring measures at resolving conflicts without wasting resources or stalling economic activities.

The Director-General of SON, Osita Aboloma, while speaking at a mediation and arbitration training organised by the firm for its staff and other stakeholders stated the agency was empowering its staff with skills to handle conflicts that may arise from complaints handling, market survey and stakeholder engagement.

According to him, the move became necessary in order to enhance service delivery by the agency as well as enhance stakeholders’ adoption and compliance to stipulated standards.

Aboloma said his agency was strengthening its internal mechanisms to combat substandard products head on and urged all Nigerians to join hands with SON in order to create greater opportunities for genuine and certified locally manufactured products to thrive.

The DG pledged his total commitment to protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians as well its economy using the instruments of standardisation and quality assurance.

The President, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Certification of Nigeria (ICMC), Emeka Obegolu, said the training will help the agency to achieve its objectives in its transactions with stakeholders and customers.

He explained that communication is key in mediation and reconciliation if goals will be achieved, adding that participants will be inducted into the institute after the training.

Giving an overview about ADR mechanisms, Director, Marketing (ICMC), Chiddy Martins, said a lot of civil cases in the courts linger for too long because a party has chosen to uphold its ego when such cases could have been addressed using alternative measures.

“ADR provides relief to frustration litigants face when resolving civil disputes using traditional methods. It helps to address delay, prohibitive costs, case congestion, restrictive single option, unsatisfactory determination of cases, ruined relationships and reduction in foreign investments,” he added.

He then urged SON to explore ADR measures in settling disputes in order to promote trade and enhance the attainment of its set objectives.

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