The SON is the Standard Organization of Nigeria. This is the topmost body in charge of the standardization of goods and products in Nigeria. The Standard Organization of Nigeria was created in 1971 by the enabling Act No. 56 of 1971. However, there have been several amendments since then. The organization currently functions under the SON Act Number 14, 2015.
This Act repealed the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Act, Cap 59 laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004, and enacted the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Act. 2015. This was for the purpose of providing additional functions and power for the organization, increasing the punishment for violation of laws, and other related matters.
This SON Act 2015 has now replaced the Enabling Act No. 56 of 1971 which has three amendments: (Act No. 20 of 1978, Act No. 32 of 1984 and Act No. 18 of 1990).
According to the act, the Standard Organization of Nigeria is governed by the Standards Council of Nigeria.
Standards Council of Nigeria
The SON’s governing body is known as the Standards Council of Nigeria. This body is responsible for making policies, supervising the administration and managing the finances of SON. Among other things are:
- Consultancy services to the Federal government on national policies on standards
- Designing, establishing and endorsing standards across a variety of goods
- Specification of standards
- Control of measurements and quality
- Overseeing all policies of SON
The Chief Executive of the SON is the Director-General who oversees the day to day administration of the organization within the guidelines and regulations provided by the council.
The Standard Organization is comprised of the following departments
- Standards (Engineering, Science, Library Services, Metrology, and International Cooperation Collaboration)
- Quality Assurance (Engineering, Science, Metrology and Quality Activities in zones)
- Laboratory Services (Engineering Laboratory, Science Laboratory, Metrology Laboratory, and Textile Laboratory)
- Special Services (Communications, Product registration, Certification and Accreditation, Ports and Borders operations, Customers complaints and collaboration, etc.
Functions of SON
The Standard Organization of Nigeria is established primarily to ensure the required level of safety and satisfaction of domestic-made goods. This is achieved by making sure companies and industries comply strictly with the policies of the government on standardization. The organization also assesses products for conformity to standards. Secondly, the SON is empowered to ensure that imported goods meet the minimum requirements of standards according to Nigerian law or other international standards. Other functions are:
- SON is responsible for preparing, establishing standards relating to various products, commodities, measurements, processes, materials for the certifying of products in Nigerian commerce and industry
- Responsible for the promotion of these standards at the grassroots, national, regional and international levels
- The organization is empowered to seize and confiscate any product or prohibit the sale of such that are below Nigerian standards
- Compiling a list of products that need standardization
- Inspecting the quality of processes and raw materials used for production
- Certification and endorsement of industrial products that meet the standards
- To carry out inspection and raids of products, materials, and facilities used in production, laboratories, and factories
- Assistance in the production of quality goods;
- Improvement of policies on quality and measurement accuracy
- Public enlightenment and education on matters related to the standardization of products
- To carry out scientific tests on every product to ensure compliance with standards
- Developing methods for testing of equipment, materials and supplies including those purchased for the government use.
- Compilation and publication of general scientific data
- Work with other bodies and international organizations concerned with standardization
- The Standard Organization of Nigeria provides reference standards for verification. These reference standards provide measures for the calibration of measurements and equipment used in measurements in the country.
The ultimate goal of the Standard Organization of Nigeria is to improve the life of the Nigerian people through standardization and quality assurance and promote consumer confidence in the system and ensure the competitiveness of Nigerian products and services in the global market so as improve the economy of the nation. The organization also aims to contribute to sustainable development to include the health and welfare of the society through the discharge of its functions
Standards Directorate and other departments of the SON
The main function of the SON is the standardization of goods. This is carried out by The Standards Directorate which is the main organ of the organization responsible for standards/ specifications development and other activities. Functions of the directorate include:
- To co-ordinate the development of standards
- To foster strong ties with international organizations involved in standardization activities such as ISO, IEC, CODEX, AFSEC, ECOWAS, WTO & ARSO
- To promote the implementation of standards and quality assurance activities
- Provision of standards that form the basis for consumer protection, health, safety, and environmental concerns
- Harmonization of standards with international bodies such as ECOWAS and within Africa
The directorate is headed by a director with the support of other group heads and reports directly to the Director-General/ Chief Executive (SON). Other technical groups are:
- Electrical/Electronic Group: This group is charged with the responsibility of developing standards on electro-technology, renewable energy, telecommunication, information technology etc.
- Food/Codex Group: is responsible for the development of standards related to food safety, food technologies, agriculture produce, livestock, poultry, and Codex matters.
- Chemical Technology Group: This group is responsible for the development of standards covering products that make use of chemical formulations, such as soaps, detergents, paints, pesticides, pulp/paper etc
- Civil/Building Group: This group is charged with standards bordering on civil engineering, building construction, wood technology, etc.
- Service Standards Group: This group is responsible for the development of standards in the service sector such as Health and hospitality, Utilities and communications, Sales and merchandising, Financial and insurance, Technical and scientific, professional and educational, Administrative and governmental, etc.
- Mechanical/Metrology Group: This group is responsible for developing standards on mechanical engineering, pressure vessels, pipes, metrology, pressure vessels, motor vehicle parts, etc.
Other groups are the Textile & Leather Group, International Standards group, Technical Library.
There are about 1,300 Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) and 13,000 international standards maintained by the Directorate.