The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is committed to the economic and social emancipation of Africa using the instrument of standardization as is being done in other continents of the world.
To this end, the organization affirmed its commitment to the ideals of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) aimed at promoting development within the continent, through improved intra-African trade as well trading with the rest of the world.
This affirmation was contained in the address of the Director General of SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma to representatives of ARSO member countries at its on-going 56th Council Meeting taking place at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Mr. Aboloma noted the exemplary contributions of the founding fathers of ARSO of which Nigeria was one, for their vision in sharing and accepting common thoughts on the best ways to stimulate Africa’s development and competitiveness using the strong tool of standardization.
According to him, ARSO is playing a key role in the emancipation of the African Continent through facilitating the harmonization of National and regional standards and conformity assessment processes. “I wish to add my voice to the need to sustain the existence and effectiveness of ARSO through our collective and selfless contributions” he said.
The SON DG reiterated that Nigeria through his organization will continue to play its required role in ensuring the vibrancy of ARSO and the effectiveness of its activities in promoting trade, particularly within Africa while also ensuring the competitiveness of its products in the international market place.
Speaking earlier, the President of ARSO who is also the Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Bureau of Standards, Madame Eve Gadzikwa commended the Government and people of Burkina Faso for hosting the 56th Council meeting and 23rd General Assembly of the Continental standardization body.
The ARSO President stated the theme of the 2017 General Assembly as “Celebrating 2017 as the Year of Quality Infrastructure in Africa” “Role of standardization for Better quality and Better life within a continental free trade Area”
She disclosed that the ARSO five year strategic plan 2017-2022 seeks to build on new strategies to address the challenges of Quality Infrastructure in Africa, under the four Goals, namely,
· to develop high-quality standards and related deliverables through ARSO members
· to ensure that African standards are adopted and applied as national and sub-regional standards within the continent
· to ensure that ARSO structures and operations are sustainable
· to ensure that Stakeholders are effectively engaged across the entire ARSO standardization community
Madame Gadzikwa emphasized that the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) have variously expressed the need to reduce the Technical Barriers to trade among African Nations. According to her, the two bodies have undertaken to emphasize on the responsibilities of the African countries, on the impact of standardization, in the expansion of global trade, regional integration as well as multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements.
They then called on the Continental Free Trade Area members to appreciate and recognize the important role of standards, metrology, conformity assessment and accreditation, urging them to harmonize their practices in these area to achieve mutual product recognition.
Also speaking at the occasion, the ARSO Secretary General, Dr. Hermogene Nsegimana enumerated the key programmes and activities of ARSO under the 2017-2022 as including; Technical Harmonisation Committee Meetings; the ARSO Conformity Assessment Programme (ARSO CACO); ARSO Documentation and Information Networks (ARSO DISNET); ARSO Consumer Committee (ARSO COCO); celebration of the African Day of Standardisation and National/continental Essay Competitions and ARSO Capacity Building and Training.
He commended the collaboration and support ARSO has been receiving from its member Nations and development partners towards the achievement of its set targets, promising to continue to promote openness and transparency in the activities of the Secreatariat.