The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has hinted Nigerian consumers of its commitment to ensuring that only goods that meet the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) will be sold in the nation’s market henceforth. The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, gave this hint when he received the Alaba International Amalgamated Traders Association (AIATA) to SON office in Lagos recently.
He stated that under his administration’s watch, SON is out to protect the unsuspecting Nigerian consumers while also ensuring that they get value for every kobo spent on purchasing goods and services. Meanwhile, the SON boss called on trade market associations to increase their level of engagement with the standards body, saying that this is one of the efficient ways to combating the preponderance of fake and substandard goods.
Salim said: “Majority of the dealers is in Alaba because they want to do honest businesses, but there are few people causing issues and unfortunately, if we do not put our forces together, we cannot fight these unscrupulous elements.”
He added: “This leadership is almost the same thing. If we start fighting the small people who are cutting corners, they will run to the leaders of the market for protection and later you start fight people who are out to make your jobs flourish. So we want to understand where we can cooperate together. We cannot agree 100 per cent on everything, but if we agree on two items out of 20, it is a good start.”
The SON boss said SON was anticipating a future where SON officials and the business community would become partners in progress rather than seen as barriers to businesses “We want a situation where SON and the business community work hand in hand for the benefit for the Nigerian economy. We are here to facilitate businesses and to make sure that we work together with you. I want us to understand each other, appreciate each other.
I am here to work for you, here to work with you and I am here to protect Nigerians,” he assured. “We want you to be our eyes in the market and also our protectors in that market. You have to help us to do our work. I promise you the moment one bad dealer see that the association did not protect him when carrying out his illegal business; it would deter another dealer having bad intentions.
I am looking forward to working with you and if there are other areas you want us to work with you, our doors are always open to genuine dealers. I know 99.9 per cent of people who are traders are not criminals, so let us work together to improve the business community,” he said.
Responding, the Executive Chairman, EDAN, Fabian Ezeorjika, said there was an existing partnership with SON to achieve a substandard-free market. He reaffirmed the association’s commitment to working with SON to fish out the bad eggs in the market, saying that the association had formed a Joint Task Force comprising of SON officials and currently running a “buyer beware campaign” in the market. SON has destroyed a lot of products while some of our members are in court and we are going to increase the level of collaboration with SON because we want to bring an end to substandard goods. He called on SON to encourage local production, saying that this is the surest way to create wealth and job opportunities for the nation’s teeming youths. “We need to create a conducive environment for local production. Importation only creates job opportunities for people we import from. We must create a platform to boost local production,” he said.