L-R  Dr Barth Ugwu Director Laboratory services, Engr Felix Nyado Director Msc, DG SON Mallam Farouk Salim, Chief of Staff Prof Olobayo Kunle, Director Standards Directorate Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu and S S.A Special Duties Chief Emeka Duru on the high table

In an unprecedented move to feel the pulse of the Organisation after one year in office, the Director General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (DG SON) Mallam Farouk Salim held series of meetings with the general staff, management staff and SON labour unions in Lagos.

Reviewing his achievements, the DG, highlighted milestones such as infrastructural development, internal reorganisation, extensive stakeholder engagements, implementation of new management policies, Staff trainings for improved productivity and service delivery as a few of the notable ones.

The SON boss emphasised that “the purpose of these interactions between management and staff which will be held quarterly or half yearly as circumstances permit is to review SON activities, obtain feedback on the journey so far and chart the way forward”. 

According to him,” the first year as DG has been very educative and enlightening, getting to have a feel of staff and stakeholder perceptions and realities and so far the assessment is that staff need to be creative in coming up with solutions in service delivery in order to realize our mandate as a world class standards body”.

In a move that is perceived as unprecedented, staff from the state offices in the Southern region of the country were randomly selected through open balloting to attend the meeting alongside staff in the Lagos area who were all giving the rare opportunity to speak face to face with the SON Chief Executive on challenges they face in the course of carrying out their duties. 

The DG took time out to explain various issues enumerated by staff after detailed presentations especially in the areas of welfare, operational vehicles, computers. power generation, office furniture, befitting and conducive offices and working conditions.

Salim further revealed that some of the problems identified have been solved as provisions have been made especially on the aspects of vehicles, office furniture and computers, while the others have been budgeted for and the result would soon be seen by all in the coming months.

The DG however charged all staff at all levels on being problem solvers by “finding new avenues already provided for in the SON Act of 2015 to expand SON operations into yet to be covered sectors and processes as it takes only creativity to become more impactful as an organisation and also generate the much needed income” he postulated.

The SON helmsman also met with staff on CONRAISS 12 -14 the following day and reviewed some key events of his administration in the past year, including the proposal for the establishment 12 new Directorates which has been ratified by the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government (OSFG) and awaiting SON Council approval.

According to Salim the proposed Condition of Service (COS) for the Organisation has reached an advanced stage explaining that “the administration has done everything necessary and is now awaiting release from the OSFG” for necessary implementation”.

The DG during the interaction referred to the Chiefs, Assistant Directors and Deputy Directors present as “Managers ” stating that that as leaders, their primary responsibility is to be good listeners, critical analysts and solution providers so that in every situation they are able to make informed decisions while managing people, resources and processes to maintain Staff professionalism and boost SON’s productivity.

Salim said that there will training programs for SON Managers on basic Management skills while tasking all present at the meeting to be “beacons of standards” with impeccable character urging them to take their responsibilities seriously, disclosing that the responsibilities of a good manager include fairness, empathy, firmness and the ability to protect the interest of the organisation.

According to the DG, the need to generate more income has become more pertinent for SON’s financial independence, he therefore tasked staff to be more creative by seeking innovative ways of generating more income so that the organisation can gain autonomy from the Federal Government which is the surest way to improve the welfare and conditions of service of Staff.

In a separate meeting held between the DG and the SON labour Unions, the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporation and Government Owned Companies (SSASGOC) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Employees (AUCPTRE), the Leaders and representatives presented different issues to the DG on behalf of its members.

The DG in response enumerated efforts management has made under his watch to ameliorate some of the issues raised, observing that the same issues the management team are trying their utmost best to rectify, while some have yielded positive results some are still pending government ratification, he said.

Salim however challenged the SON Union leaders not to only come up with issues but rather come up with issues and possible solutions as he is willing to listen and work together with the unions in proffering long lasting respite to the perennial problems of the Organisation.

He further charged the Unions to close ranks and present articulated issues and probable solutions in writing charging them to look inwards amongst members and SON’s areas of operations to come up with ways the organisation can shore up its revenue which will eventually pave way to SON’s self-sufficiency away from the Federal Government’s coffers.

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