Lack of information, level of awareness bane of standardization in Africa, says Angya
In spite of propaganda, sensitization, media campaigns, it occurred to me that people still say they don’t know what we are doing at Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON)!”
That was the submission of Dr. Paul Angya, the Director General of the body saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the products sold in the country are of high quality and standards.
Just as these methods of sensitizing the people about patronizing quality products failed to yield desired results, Angya, had to put on his thinking cap. Perhaps, something more ennobling was required, a different approach to drive home the message of standards, not just to product makers and importers, but more importantly, to buyers of such products.
His masterstroke is to deliver the gospel of standards to young people starting from primary schools up to university. To achieve this, he has published a book, Standardization and Quality Regulation in Africa: Institutions and Legal Frameworks due for launch on Tuesday in Abuja.
At a briefing in Lagos last week leading to the launch, the DG stated that the book emanated from his Ph.D thesis. As he narrated, “When I joined SON in 2000, I was immediately thrown into international work of standardization. In 2002, I got appointed as Legal Adviser to African Regional Organisation for Standardization with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. It comprises of all bodies of standardization in Africa. Through my work, in close association with standardization bodies in Asia, Europe Union, the Pacific Region and elsewhere, I realised that there was a lot unknown about standardization and quality issues, specifically with regard to the law”.
The challenges that most Africa nations have, according to him, was how to “entrench standardization as a culture, as a result of the absence of coherent legal regime. Standardization was understood mostly in the abstract; people couldn’t bring it to bear on their everyday lives. So when you talk about standardization, people thought it was some scientific theory that could never be proven. So, we had those difficulties. I realised this challenge and I was required to write papers often both for SON and at those fora, and I realised that a lot of work needed in this area”.