The government of Osun on Monday formally inaugurated the use standardised weighing scales in all its markets as the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said the move was to make the state the preferred destination for commercial activities in the sub-region.
Aregbesola said his administration will not relent in its goal of developing economic activities in the state.
The unveiling of the “Osuwon Omoluabi”, was held amidst a huge crowd of market men and women who thronged the Nelson Mandela Freedom Square in Osogbo venue.
He pointed out that Osogbo in the 60’s and early 70s was a great centre of commerce because of the railway that passed through the city.
The Governor emphasised that “Osunwon Omoluabi” policy is backed by law, saying Weights and Measures constitute item 63 on the Exclusive Legislatives list of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He noted that the laws made in this regard include Weights and Measures Act CAP W3LFN, 2004, Pre-Shipment Inspection of Export Act CAP P25 LFN, 2004; Weights and Measures Standardization of Indigenous Measures Regulations, 1992 and the Weights and Measures Fees Regulations.
Aregbesola noted that all hands must be on deck to revive the economic status of the state, adding that the state had in the past attracted sellers and buyers from neighbouring states, as far as Akure in present day Ondo State and that only Ibadan was greater in trade and commerce than Osogbo in the region.
The Governor held that the launch of standardised weighing scales is in continuation of the provision of the infrastructure of the mind which we began at the inception of his administration, when it rebranded Osun as Ipinle Omoluabi.
Aregbesola stressed that “Osunwon Omoluabi” will eliminates cheating and other underhand practices that have become the hallmark of trading in most markets.
He averred that the use of standardized scales in markets across the state will give rise to a chain of economic benefits, adding that market expansion for dealers in weighing scales is assured as the programme will increase the demand for the product.
Aregbesola assured that jobs will be created for service providers in the areas of maintenance and repair of scales, adding that 178 OYES cadets have been trained in the maintenance and repair of scales in the first phase of the Train-the-Trainers Empowerment Scheme which is an integral part of the Standardised Weighing Scales Programme.
He said, “In the quest to be competitive and make more profit, which is greed, traders now devise varying means of short-changing buyers. Measures are deliberately reduced through cutting, filling with candles and wax, and sleight of hand.
“Scales are tilted fraudulently while husks, chaffs, barks and other rubbish are included in goods sold, with the intention of reducing the actual values of what the buyers take home.
“One of the tragedies of this immoral practice is that foreigners began to distrust our export because, for instance, cocoa graders put top grades at the top of the sack, leaving poor quality at the bottom, and in the process, collect money for the top grade.
“Those who are in the business can tell you what loss they suffered because the foreigners distrusted their products and classified all cocoa coming from our land as inferior, irrespective of the grade”.
Earlier In his opening remarks, the former Commissioner for Industries, Commerce, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Mr. Ismaila Adekunle Jayeoba-Alagbada, the standardised weighing scale across markets in the state became necessary to mitigate challenges noticeable in commercial transactions.
Jayeoba-Alagbada said in order to erase cheating in the process of exchange of commercial goods and checkmate other market forces challenges, government decided to formally introduce the standardised weighing scales.
According to him, training workshops had already been conducted in the markets all over the state on the effective use of the scales.
He stated that the Ministry of Industries, Commerce, Cooperatives and Empowerment is saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the day-to-day administration of the programme.
He said: “I need to emphasise that market women and men had been fully mobilised to key into this emerging commercial revolution.
“Both the leadership and the followership of the associations of market women and men had agreed, not only to comply with the right use of the scales and measures but to continuously carry out peer reviews with a view to ensuring flawless implementation of the standardised weighing scales and measures programme.
“I want to place it on record that, but for the grace of God and the dogged determination of Mr. Governor, this launch and indeed the entire standardised scales and measures programme would have been a mirage.”
The President General of Osun State Market Women Association, Alhaja Awawu Asindemade, said the standardised scale became necessary owing to imbalance in measurement and fraud in commercial activities.
Asindemade said the Kongo measurement introduced to the market in the old Oyo State became the standard measurement in Osun when it was created.
According to Market leader, the old measurement was gradually subjected to abuse and fraud to the extent that individual seller used his or her yardstick for measurement, thus the need to re-standardise and unify it.
She however warned that the introduction of the standard scale should not translate to increase in commodity price system in the market.
“It is in a bid to correct the anomaly in measurement and scale that the Government of Osun introduced the standardised weighing scales in markets in the state so as to forestall fraud and cheating in measurement.
“As we welcome this innovation, I call on my constituency – market men and women – to cooperate with government to make this a success.
“Besides, introduction of this weight and measurement does is not and should not lead to increase in price of commodities in our market,” Asindemade said