The Director General of the Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON, Farouk Salim has again reiterated the need for his organization to be returned back to the ports.
Speaking at a one day capacity building workshop for journalists on Tuesday, Salim said the absence of the SON at the ports meant that the SON would start chasing substandard products after they might have found their way into the markets.
He maintained that the presence of the SON at the ports will help nip this problem in the bud as these products would be apprehended and stopped before they find their way into the nation’s markets
Salim charged Nigerian manufacturers to ensure their products conform to international standards through testing and compliance with the Nigeria Industrial Standards, NIS, if they are to maximise opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
AfCFTA is a trade agreement between AU member states with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union.
The free-trade zone would be the largest in the world since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995.
According to Salim, Nigerian manufacturers need to produce products that meet international standards to enable them compete favourably.
He stated that the SON is not resting on it’s oars in ensuring that substandard products are completely wiped out from the country.
“We’ve done enough enforcement, discussed about how to stop all these things that are entering our country. We are working assiduously both within, outside and underground, to improve activities of the organization so that it can serve the country better,” he said.
“This is very important, because we have the new African free trade, where goods will be crossing borders without too much hindrance.
“So what that means for our country is, if our manufacturers are not producing standard goods, they will not cross over to the other countries, because other countries will set standards too and they will expect goods coming to their countries to be up to standard.
“So it is our responsibility as the SON to make sure our goods in this country are up to standard. We must make sure that substandard goods in the markets decrease.
“Governments should make sure that there are consequences and sanctions against any products or persons producing substandard products.
“We have to make sure that manufactured goods, building materials are up to standard because in case of collapsed buildings, hundreds of people lose their lives.”
Whilst restating the commitment of his organization to the fight against fake and substandard products in the country, the SON helmsman said the organization has some of the best hands in terms of training and experience to carry out its mandate to curb the manufacture and import of substandard products into the country.
He therefore tasked journalists on creating better awareness of the activities the SON to Nigerians.
Speaking on a similar note, Director Compliance, Mark Dakhling, who was represented on the occasion by a Deputy Director in the department , Engr.Onucheyo Enebi identified the absence of the SON at the ports as one of the major challenges confronting the organization.
In his paper, Compliance to Standards – An Imperative to Industrial Growth in Nigeria, Dakhling said the SON has adopted several strategies to mitigate the challenges posed by the development through implementing some strategies, amongst which are
Training of SON Operatives on Identification of substandard products; Promoting and creating awareness on compliance to SON Regulatory requirements, for Stakeholders and End Users;
Maintaining a database on substandard products, importers, dealers/ distributors and resolution of cases/petition transmitted through Consumer feedback and collaboration unit, inter-agency collaboration, Trade Union/market Association .
Watching out for SON Logo and Quality Marks on products;
Backward integration of substandard products that are main for destruction ;
SON implementation of recall requirements for failed products and Rectification exercise where applicable;
Synergy with all the relevant agencies and other stakeholders and Referral where necessary.