BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
In order to banish inaccurate measures of commodities that often lead to cheating and chaotic situations in most market places, Osun state government has introduced the use of standardised weighing scales for market men and women in the state.
This measuring scales, otherwise known as “Osunwon Omoluabi” would be launched on Monday, June 13, 2016 by the Osun state Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola in Osogbo.
The former Commissioner for Commerce, Industries, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Mr. Ismail Adekunle Jayeoba-Alagbada disclosed this at a press conference to herald the official launch of the use of the scales on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 in Osogbo.
According to Jayeoba-Alagbada, attainment of equity and justice in commercial transactions in all the markets across the state was the reason for the introduction of the weighing scales.
He explained that equity and justice is lacking in the continue usage 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 practising also frowned at the use of unjust and inaccurate measures by sellers in commercial transactions.
He said “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.
Noting that the use of standardized weighing scales is backed by law and constitute items 63 on the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and being made active in the state, the ex-commissioner warned against manipulations of the scientific weighing scales by sellers.
He said appropriate punishments stated by laws would be meted out on any erring seller in the state.
Alagbada 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.
Besides, he said the existing measures are based more on rule of thumbs than any degree of accuracy and consistency adding that the existing measuring standard are not accurate and full of inherent shortcomings often observed by the market men and women themselves.
He enumerated the gains of using standardizing scales saying it will however eliminate all inherent shortcomings, mistrust, incessant arguments and disagreement that are witnessed in commercial transactions.
Jayeoba-Alagbaada said: “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 to take advantage of the novel 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 market to serve both as repair and challenge-mitigating centres.
Also speaking, the leader of the market women and men in the state told our correspondent that they are in support of the measuring scale saying it would also help sellers in making expected gains.
For Iyaloja Awawu Asindemade, the leader of market men in the state, all market women have been sensitised on how to use the scales and the need for them to ensure that they adhere to the rules guiding it.
In the same vein, the Babaloja (the leader of market men in the state), Chief Daniel Iyiola said it is a welcome idea but advised the state government to ensure that the scales are not manipulated by the users.