The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has mapped out plans to get rid of quacks involved in management system practice in the country.
Its Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim, made this known on Thursday at a one-day stakeholders’ engagement for the National Register for Conformity Assessment Practitioners (NRCAP) in Lagos.
Salim said the move would put an end to unscrupulous individuals who shortchanged companies and individuals.
According to him, the quacks lacked the required competency to operate in the management system space.
Salim said that conformity assessment practice was central to the sustenance of commercial success and continuity in all sectors.
He said that management system practitioners were vital toward ensuring that practices carried out by the industries “are in alignment with the international best practice in terms of the expectations of existing conformity assessment standards”.
“It is in view of the importance of the authenticity and traceability of products and services to meet the requirements of relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards and other approved specifications.
“SON seeks to pursue the implementation of Part II, Section 4(d) and Part III, Section 5 of the SON Act No.14 of 2015.
“Via the operation of the NRCAP scheme, in order to establish a directory of verified and registered Conformity Assessment Practitioners in Nigeria for all laboratories, management system consultants, Training Service Providers, Certification bodies, inspection bodies, inspectors, auditors and assessors.”
He said that lack of regulation of the activities of the practitioners over the years had negatively impacted the industry and country significantly.
Salim listed other impacts including: “poor protection of genuine practitioners, unhealthy competition, poor visibility and recognition of genuine and competent practitioners capable of attracting patronage.
“Others are poor value for money for unsuspecting customers patronising quacks who deliver poor services.”
He also said that the lack of an official register of competent practitioners to aid national planning and coordination of economic activities that border on standardisation and quality assurance was also a challenge to the growth of the economy.
“This engagement is guided by the strategic collaboration/partnership that SON shares with various organisations over time, especially with the SON Management Systems Certification and Training Services Departments with which you interface through your customers, of which you are expected to bring to bear, your wealth of experience to this national call,” he said.
The SON director-general said that the registration processes, including approved guidelines, expectations of benchmarking Conformity Assessment standards and interests while developing the documents, were taken into consideration to ensure that the impartiality of the process was assured.
He said that adequate training was given to the practitioners to boost their service delivery.
Earlier, Bode Oke, the First President, Society for Management System Practitioners of Nigeria, said the group would join hands with SON to stem quackery in the system to ensure that consumers get value for the money they spent.
Oke said: “We are here to gain more knowledge and to join SON in the registration of all management system practitioners.
“We are going to partner with SON to ensure that the exercise is successful because we have a lot of companies practicing management systems that are not trained and competent.
“We are working together with SON to ensure that we remove all those incompetent people from the system.
“So that whenever a client approaches practitioners for registration, the client will know that he will not be shortchanged and get value for the money spent,” he said.
Oke said that the roles of system practitioners were vital in business growth and development.
He stressed that the system practitioners were responsible for taking companies through quality management systems certification, environmental management system certification, occupational health and safety certification and food management system certification.
“The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has established standards for all management systems.
“And, therefore, anyone that would lead companies to obtain these certifications must be competent.
“This is why SON is regulating all the auditors, consultants and even, the certification bodies, because we have some certification bodies coming from outside the country that are not competent, so competency is the key word here,” he said.
In her remarks, Patricia Solarin, a Consultant in the Quality Management System Practice, said that standardisation was germane for industrial development.
Solarin said: “There are so many briefcase-carrying consultants that are going around duping clients and most of these consultants did not even pass their audit test and examination.
“Without standardisation or regulations, it will be difficult to stop the quacks. A lot of companies are being shortchanged, because people taking them through certification do not really know much.
“So, SON is trying to register auditors and consultants, which is a welcome development to ensure that people get value for their hard money spent.”
She commended the leadership style of Salim for taking a bold step to tackle the challenges, urging government to support SON to achieve greater feats.