Recently, the management of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) read the riot act to groups of importers over rising substandard electronic items in circulation and their effects on health of the economy and Nigerians. Taiwo Hassan reports
With the obvious empowerment of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) by the SON Act 14, 2015, only businessmen with unscrupulous tendencies have reasons to fear.
On the contrary, genuine manufacturers and importers would always appreciate the immense benefits of the act to their businesses and indeed the nation as a whole.
The Director General of SON, Osita Aboloma, have on many occasions spoken on the importance of the agency’s Act as it impacts on consumers and businesses generally in the country.
However, despite SON’s mission to reduce influx of sub-standard products coming into the country, the goods are still being displayed in several markets nationwide.
Truly, the impact of substandard goods on any thriving economy calls for concerns in all ramification because of the effect on people’s health and the economy.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) revealed that overlapping responsibilities of SON) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was resulting to economic loss and revenue leakages amid increase in fake, substandard and counterfeit products in circulation.
LCCI immediate past President, Babatunde Ruwase, in an interview in Lagos, said that the quest by the two agencies (SON and NAFDAC) to get rid of fake and substandard products as well as counterfeiting in circulation was fuelling increase in products adulteration.
Ruwase explained that investigations carried out among its members operating in the country’s consumer and durable products sector indicated that the overlapping responsibilities of the two organisations towards tackling the menacing and growing incidence of fake and substandard products in circulation was affecting the market share of leading brands, impacting adversely on their reputation, and also eroding their profit margins.
According to him, statutorily, the two agencies of government have done well in the discharge of their responsibilities to ensure that fake and substandard products as well as counterfeiting are eliminated in the country, saying that it is alarming that despite their monitoring and policing responsibilities, there is still increase in fake and substandard products in circulation.
The trade expert explained that members of the association were complaining about the overlapping responsibilities of the two agencies and consequently affecting the revenue forecasts on their businesses.
SON’s riot act
Speaking at a parley with leadership of Alaba International Market and its importers, the director-general of SON explained to the importers that the agency could no longer condone Nigeria being a dumping ground for importation of substandard electronics, electrical items.
He advised them on the need to put their house in order, otherwise the agency won’t hesitate to apply the law that created it.
Aboloma warned them to desist from importing counterfeit products that are having negative effects on the health of Nigerians and the economy in general.
He noted that henceforth there would be zero tolerance for substandard electronics/electrical items coming into the country and that the leadership of the Alaba International Market should sensitise its members over the influx of these items.
Aboloma admitted that Alaba International Market was a strategic market for importation and has been inundated with substandard electronics without recourse to quality assurance compliance.
The SON boss charged the leadership of the market that the agency was determined to sanitise the market and that the traders have a key role to play.
He emphasised that SON would not allow the continued importation of substandard electronics into the country henceforth, especially to Alaba International Market because of the negative image it is bringing to the country.
Indeed, it is already a known fact that Nigeria is a dumping ground for most illicit and substandard goods from different parts of the globe.
The reasons are not far-fetched that corruption and maladministration among government agencies saddled with the responsibility to monitor influx of goods coming into the country have given way to substandard products and these have taken a huge toll on the country’s economy.
Particularly, the private sector group has lamented that this lacuna has been responsible for the inability of local goods to compete favourably at the international market.