Osun floats standardized food measurement scales in markets

By Akeeb Alarape, Osogbo
Osun State Government has formally inaugurated standardised weighing
scales in all its markets.
This is coming just as the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said the
move was to make the state the preferred destination for commercial
activities in the sub-region.
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 ‎has always been a great centre of commerce
because of the railway that passed through the city‎.
The governor emphasised that the 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.
‎ ‎Aregbesola stressed that measurement 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.

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