Govt may revisit review of cement standards
• SON, EU partner to boost non-oil exporters’ capacity
Following the recent rise in building collapse around the country, there are new indications that the Federal Government may revisit the review of cement standards to address restrictions placed on the use of certain classes of the commodity.
Indeed, The Guardian learnt that stakeholders are awaiting the composition of the board of the governing council of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) by the Federal Government to drive the review agenda.
The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment had in 2014 unveiled the Commodity Composition and Conformity Criteria for Common Cements and Specification of Mandatory Industrial Standard NIS 444-1, prescribing requirements for packaging and labeling cement bags, as well as the use of certain classes of cement grades.
Specifically, the decision by the Federal Government had led to the institution of different suits against the SON by three cement manufacturing companies, Lafarge Cement WAPCO, Ashaka Cement and Unicem on the planned implementation of the new Mandatory Industrial Standard Order for cement manufacturing, distribution and usage in the country.
Through the suits, the cement manufacturers are seeking the court to establish whether or not the respondents (SON) complied with the mandatory provisions of the law for establishing new industrial standard in the introduction of the Commodity Composition and Conformity Criteria for Common Cements and Specification of Mandatory Industrial Standard NIS 444-1 2014.
Meanwhile, the SON, in collaboration with European Union (EU), has concluded plans to organise a final national training on standards on code of practice for some agriculture produces.
The workshop scheduled for Abuja this month, according to a statement jointly signed by Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, Acting Director of SON and Mrs. Irina Kireeva of EU, will focus on exports of key agriculture commodities including cocoa, beans, shea butter, and melon.
The project is coming on the heels of EU ban of Nigeria’s beans in the international market, and seeks to equip participants with the technicalities of the export market, with regards to the issues on development of standards and the engagement of the private sector.
Themed ‘Standard and Quality- Unleashing the potential of Agricultural products to grow the Non-oil Exports in Nigeria’, the project is being organised under the auspices of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries from the EU’s Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), with about 100 participants expected at the forum.
“The TBT Programme is financed by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund, with its main objective being to contribute to improving competitiveness in local, regional and export markets by enhancing the export capacity of economic operators in ACP countries. These it seeks to achieve through: the enhancement of the capacity of regional and continental quality infrastructure institutions; coordination and harmonisation of ACP technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures to facilitate intra-regional trade”, the statement read in part.