(Centre) DG, SON Osita Aboloma Esq and patriarch of the African Industries Group, Mr. Parduman Gupta with management staff of the Group and SON listening to a presentation on World Quality Month celebrations during the Factory visit

The need for adherence to Standards and Quality in the Steel manufacturing industry to safeguard the lives and properties of citizens has been reiterated by the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma Esq. during an inspection of the African Industries Group factory site in Ogijo, Ogun State.

Aboloma urged the company to pay greater attention to issues of safety of its environment and continual conformity of its products to relevant Nigeria Industrial standards, given the classification of its products as life endangering.

He sought the African Industries Group’s greater support and commitment towards eliminating the incidence of collapsed buildings occasioned by substandard materials and commended its leadership among steel bar manufacturers in Nigeria.

The SON Chief Executive assured the company’s management of support and protection to sustain its over 40 years’ investment and diversification, as well as the continued creation of direct and indirect employment to thousands of Nigerians.

He emphasized the need for business gains to be balanced with quality and safety of the consumer which can only be attained through conformance to Standards, Quality Assurance, Good Manufacturing Practice and technological innovations in order to instill consumer confidence, ensure global competitiveness and value for money.

According to the DG, SON “my impression from available records on African Foundries Ltd indicates that its products are certified to the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Program (MANCAP), as well as to the Integrated Management Systems (IMS), standards making your products fit for local consumption and for export”. He commended the company’s quest for quality and safety in undertaking voluntary certifications to the international management systems standards on quality, environment and hazard analysis, describing it as one of a few in the elite group of IMS certified organisations in Nigeria

Aboloma challenged the company and others to look further inwards in the quest for continual improvement through the integrated managements systems standards certification as SON has developed adequate capability in that area.

.He admonished the African Industries Group not to rest on its oars while requesting it and other Industry Stakeholders to collaborate with SON on the review of the Nigerian Industrial Standards NIS 117:2004 for Steel Reinforcement Bars and adoption of the BS 4449:2005 and EN 10009: standards to suit current realities in the steel industry.

He encouraged the group and other stakeholders in the building and construction materials industry to take advantage of SON’s testing capabilities at the Engineering Laboratory and the National Metrology Laboratory, both in Enugu.

Welcoming the SON delegation, the Chairman of Africa Industries Group, Mr. Parduman Gupta acknowledged the guidance and support from SON over the years in the area of standards development and quality assurance.

According to him, the group’s Steel milling plants located in Lagos (2), Ogun (2), Abuja and Port Harcourt account for between 60 and 70 percent of the entire steel rods requirement in Nigeria.

He enumerated some of the challenges threatening the steel sector as including;

–  scarcity of iron scraps as raw material
–  low percentage of iron content in the available iron ore in Nigeria for mining as alternative

Mr. Gupta disclosed that his group’s huge investment in the latest beneficiation technology for the increase of iron ore content suitable for steel production is at an advanced stage. He posited that the project could make Nigeria self-sufficient in steel bar production and other profiles when completed.

The African Industries Group Chairman sought government support through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to sustain its export to various African and Asian countries and also save the jobs of thousands of its employees.

The DG and his entourage where afterwards taken on a facility tour of the African Foundries Facilities to have first-hand view at the investments in technological innovations and the process of production of steel bars from the laboratory, scrap yard, melting shop, oxygen plant and the power generation plant.

Members of the African Industries Group management that conduct the DG and entourage round the facility include Alok Gupta, MD; Raj Gupta,  Vice Chairman and Uche Iwuamadi, Group Executive Director.

The SON management team included, Engr. Felix Nyado, Messrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu,  and Kabir Y. Muhammed, Directors for Operations, Standards Development and DG’s office respectively; Messrs. Talatu Ethan and Yeside Akinlabi, Deputy Directors, Micronutrient and Food Chemistry Laboratories respectively and Engr. Fred Akingbesote, Deputy Director, Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme. Others include, Engr. Willie Okpeh, Group Head, Mechanical and Chairman, Steel Monitoring Task Force, Engr. Alewu Achema, State Coordinator, Ogun II, Bola Fashina, SA to DG/Head, Public Relations, Mrs. Oby Egbuciem, State Coordinator Lagos 11, Victor Amadi, Head, Protocol, Lagos.

DG, SON ( Centre facing Camera) clarifying an issue inside the steel rolling mill

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