The Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Faruk Salim said as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) takes off across Africa this month, the Nigerian standards body is set to ensure that only goods that meet minimum standards will be allowed into the country.
He told journalists during a recent enforcement exercise in Lagos that the agency is ready for any situation either from Africa or other continents across the world. “As regards to African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), we are prepared as far as standadisation is concerned.”
He further called on the Federal Government to consider a policy that will ensure the repatriation of imported substandard products to the country of origin, saying such would address the preponderance of imported fake and substandard goods in the country.
Salim noted that an arrangement to return goods with no economic value to countries notable for producing substandard goods was timely and critical.
“One arrangement I would love to have is the ability to return substandard goods back to country of origin, while also paying back the importers of the products if they were wrongly deceived.
“However, a situation where the importer was not deceived, we would prosecute the importer. “We will support any country to prosecute any manufacturer or importer with their own laws over there, but that law to my knowledge is not yet in place, I will definitely like to appeal to the relevant authorities in the future to put such enabling law in place,” he said.
The SON DG revealed plans to destroy over N300 million worth of substandard gas cylinders and tyres. According to him, the products failed to meet the minimum requirement of the Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) and, therefore, were not safe for consumption by the public.
Salim said the agency was also increasing its surveillance and intelligence to checkmate the influx of substandard goods, while restating its commitment to zero tolerance for substandard goods.
“We are destroying these goods in an environmentally friendly way because we do not want to pollute the environment and we also must ensure that everything recyclable would be recycled properly.
”We are looking at N300 million worth of goods to be destroyed and this is just an estimate. “About six containers of tyres were stuffed into each other and for the cylinders, we intercepted them from multiple sources.
“We still have more products waiting for court orders to be destroyed because we cannot on our own destroy them,” he added.
Also speaking, SON’s Compliance Director, Engr. Obiora Manafa, said the agency was poised to intensifying its sensitisation programmes to educate Nigerians on the negative effect of substandard products in 2021.
“The sensitisation campaigns had so far yielded positive results according to the feedbacks of many market organisations on the processes,” he said