Osun State Government has disclosed that attainment of equity and justice in commercial transactions in all the markets across the state was the reason for its quest for the use of standardized weighing scales called “Osunwon Omoluabi” in the state.
The Former Commissioner for Commerce, Industries, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Mr. Ismail Adekunle Jayeoba-Alagbada stated this in Osogbo at a press conference heralding the official launch of the use of Standardized Weighing Scales in the state.
Alagbada explained that equity and justice is lacking in the continued using of existing measuring bowls such as Kongo, Kobiowu, Denge and others, adding that there is a great variation in the weights and measures used in different localities; and even at times, in those used by different individuals in the same locality.
While describing it as aberration, Jayeoba Alagbada noted that the three religions that the people of the state are practicing also frown at the use of unjust and inaccurate measures in exchange in commercial transactions.
According to him, “”This programme becomes necessary to facilitate the state’s aspirations to be a hub for trade and commerce within and beyond Nigeria.
“The use of inaccurate measures often leads to chaotic situation in most market places. Consequently, commercial transactions become laborious, unhealthy and with the attendant high transaction costs, ultimately hindering the pace of growth of trade and commerce.
“The foregoing, coupled with his continuous strives to change the face of the state of Osun, and place it to the first amongst its equals makes Governor Aregbesola to conceive the lofty idea of introducing standardized scales and measures in all facets of commercial transactions in all items which are sold or distributed by weigh, measure or number in the state.
“This no doubt, is an excetional demonstration of foresight and proactive response to the growing need for accuracy of measurements, better packaging and display of consumable goods in ways that safeguard health and promote cordial social interactions in markets in the state.
“This as envisaged, would enable the regulation of trade or commerce in goods which are sold or distributed by weights, measures or numbers, and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Alagbada revealed that the use of standardized weighing scales is back by law and constitute items 63 on the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and being made active in the state.
He hinted that the state government had consulted widely with stakeholders in trade and commerce in the state including opinion and religious leaders in the state for it use, adding that the existing mode of open air display and sale of most edible items in the market places constitute grave hazard to health and well being of consumers.
According to him, “most items are openly exposed to dusts, flies and many other agents of diseases. Most of the communicable diseases are as a result of the exposure of edible products to vectors carrying the causative germs.
“Sometimes, nursing mothers after cleaning up their babies still use the unwashed hands to measure food items”, he stressed.
Alagbada noted further that the existing measures are based more on rule of thumbs than any degree of accuracy and consistency, saying the existing measuring standard are not accurate and full of inherent shortcomings often observed by the market men and women themselves.
He enunciates the gains of using standardized scales, saying it will however eliminate all inherent shortcomings, mistrust, incessant arguments and disagreement that are currently commonplace in commercial transactions.
“The standardized scales and measures will positively impact on the economy of the state by bringing unprecedented ease to trade and commercial transactions in the state.
“This will no doubt increase the pace and volume of transactions among traders and consumers, thereby increasing the volume of commerce. It will also attract consumers from neighbouring states who will want to take advantage of the noble programme of standardization of measurements in the state.
“The programme will create large number of business and employment opportunities for citizens of the state as large number of unemployed youths would acquire vocational training in repairs and maintenance of scales.
“People in the state will spend less on health maintenance since the new measures are health promoting, not allowing for exposure of goods to flies and dusts”, he added.
Alagbada explained that the fear that majority of market men and market women are illiterate and may not be easily susceptible change and accurate reading of the scales have been taken care of by the state government, adding that wide sensitizations and enlightenments have been carried out.
While appealing to market men and market women and other stakeholders to key into the emerging commercial revolution in the state, Alagbada disclosed that special weights and measures unit have been established in the ministry saddled with responsibility of monitoring day-to-day administration of the standardized weighing scales and measures programmes.
He said further that 178 OYES cadets have been trained under the-train-the trainer programme on the use, maintenance and repairs, adding that they would also man some control posts in all the markets to serve both as repair and challenge-mitigating centres.