The World Bank, in 2020, ranked Nigeria 131 out of 190 economies in the Doing Business Index.
The index ranks countries based on certain criteria such as registration of property, access to electricity, payment of taxes, access to credit, resolution of conflicts in courts, among other key variables.
Though the World Bank discontinued this process in 2021, the Doing Business Index was a thermometer through which nations’ business environments were assessed.
Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, after putting in place quality policies to boost standards, raised its rating to 131 in 2019 from its position of 146 in 2018.
The SON is expecting that should there be any other ranking by a global institution on doing business, Nigeria’s score will be much higher than earlier reported.
However, to appreciate the significant role played by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria in achieving that through high-quality standards, the Federal Government recently returned SON to the ports several years after being removed alongside several government regulatory agencies, the agency said.
The reinstatement of SON to the ports was seen as a reflection of the unique quality and purposeful leadership of the Director-General and Chief Executive of the SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, who pledged to change the narratives against all odds, it noted.
The Salim-led administration in the shortest period of his assumption of office has been in the forefront of facilitating businesses to thrive and grow in Nigeria by ensuring that processes are captured online to enable stakeholders, partners and customers to access most services without any difficulty, it stated.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria is also known for nurturing the MSMEs over the years through training and certification of their products, especially those ready for export, the agency further said.
This is by ensuring maximum support for them. The agency has reduced the costs of standards by half, thereby helping them to standardise their products and compete favourably.
This feat and many others have not gone unnoticed as the organisation recently received an award as the best government agency for showing resilience both in conduct and operation of ease of doing business in Nigeria from the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, the agency said.
The SON was also conferred with an award in the category of ‘Institution in the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria’ by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Mallam Farouk Salim, recently at an award dinner said, “The core mandate of SON is to establish and enforce standards and quality so as to forestall influx of substandard products into the country and also ensure that our industries stay afloat and sustain production from the standpoint of quality assurance.
“The award was an attestation to the hard work and dedication put in by SON staff all across the country to ensure that industries are constantly inspected so that consumer end-products are beneficial to consumers who will drive demand by their use, and with demands, more production and the economy will thrive for the better,” he said.
Based on the stride recorded by SON in ensuring sanity in the nation’s economy, expectations are that the agency will continue to prioritise its key mandate of providing the manufacturing and industrial sectors the requisite standards, quality assurance and technical know-how for the overall benefit of Nigerian businesses, market watchers said.