The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has distanced itself from the activities of two local firms, Bendusco International Agency Ltd and D&K Industries Limited, accused of manufacturing, importing and selling fake, adulterated and substandard BIC shaving sticks, tooth brushes and razor blades, saying the alleged economic saboteurs are not members of MAN.
This comes at the heels of a recent protest in Awka, Anambra State capital by workers of BENDUSCO Ltd, said to have been instigated and engineered by one MrUzochukwu Benjamin Nwizu, the owner of the two local firms. The protesters had claimed SON was killing the growth of local industries through its regulatory activities.
However in a swift reaction, MAN said the allegations were baseless the Manufacturers group has been working in tandem with MAN to actualize the nation’s industrial development plan. We gathered that theStandards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in its bid to rid the markets of fake and substandard products recently raided the illegal factories said to be operated by BENDUSCO. The raids carried out with the assistance of other relevant security agencies resulted in the discovery of counterfeited eight brands of shaving stick, including, BIC, Dorco, Excell, Gillette and Zorrik.
The firm was also involved in the packaging of fake tooth brushes like Angola, kitty and Nacet razor blades in unhygienic environment. SON closed down the two packaging outlets, seizing operational and production machines in the process. However, this did not go down well with Bendusco, which together with D&K Industries Limited, organised a protest against SON, accusing the organisation of deliberately undermining their businesses.
MAN through its President, Dr. Frank Jacobs dissociated itself from a two counterfeiters, saying that MAN’s records showed that they are not MAN members. “There is no such name as BENDUSCO. There is no such name among our members. So if he says he is representing MAN, we are saying we do not know him. Whatever he says is not the position of MAN,” Jacobstoldnewsmen inAwka, the Anambra State capital.
Jacobs, who spoke at the 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of MAN, said MAN does not go on demonstrations to presshome its demands the way the alleged counterfeiters did. “We have channels to address our issues. What he (Bendusco) is doing is entirely different from what MAN does and of course, he is not a member of MAN,” adding that SON’s action of closing the factories does not amount to threat to manufacturers as alleged by Bendusco.
Rather, the MAN President said SON’s fight against sub-standard products is helping manufacturers improve the quality and standard of their products with a view to making them become competitive at the international market. “Today, manufacturing should not be only for Nigeria, we must produce to sell these products Overseas and be competitive at the international market,”
In his words“ manufacturers have derived a lot of benefits from SON, since the inception of the current administration under the present Director General, SON and MAN signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to encourage local manufacturing.
“SON has helped MAN in our businesses. It has helped MAN in creating a better environment for our businesses to thrive. We are very pleased with what SON is doing. SON’s activities cannot be a threat especially to the manufacturers. Their activities are helping us in improving the quality and standard of our products to become competitive at the international market.
Jacobs recalled that this was why the European Union (EU) recently came up with a programme on a national quality infrastructure and that SON is in the vanguard of this programme. “It was SON that actually engineered it and we are the beneficiaries of this programme and it is called the Nigeria quality infrastructure project. We remain grateful to SON for initiating that programme because it is in the best interest of manufacturers and the Nigerian economy at large”.
On what the body could do to the alleged counterfeiters hiding under the disguise of MAN to perpetuate unethical conducts, the MAN boss declared:
“We cannot do much because this is an individual and it is a free country. Anybody can say whatever they want to say, but such unscrupulous elements can never find their way into MAN. We will not admit them into MAN. Our reputation is very crucial. We make sure that we comply with high standards. We make sure that our members are good corporate citizens and therefore people that are involved in shady deals such as faking and counterfeiting cannot be members of MAN and we will not admit such persons into our membership”.
He however commended SON for its relentless fight against substandard goods, saying that the government should do everything to encourage and support SON as well as the National Agency for Food, DrugsAdministration and Control (NAFDAC) to ensure that they perform the mandate for which they have been established to ensuring that only good quality and standard products are sold in the country.
He however stated that manufacturing is the only way to go for Nigeria in its quest to diversify the economy, pointing out that the sector has enormous potentials to employ the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.
“We are all aware of what is happening at the international oil market with the crude oil price dwindling everyday and every country that depends on crude oil for foreign exchange in the past has to find an alternative and the best alternative is to diversify the economy. The manufacturing sector is one of the best ways to diversify the economy due to the huge potentials in the sector that we can exploit, since government is now interested in moving away from the mono-product economy to a more diversified economy,” he said.
He advised the present administration to continue with policies of the previous administration aimed at enhancing productivity, noting that the federal government must pay serious attention to promote policies that would support patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods to increase capacity utilisation and create job opportunities.
Jacobs regretted that any industry that has most of its products heavily faked will always find it difficult to thrive.
‘They are unable to sell, their sale will drop and their capacity utilisation will equally drop .”
Meanwhile, the MAN boss has commended SON in its efforts to curb the menace of fake and substandard productsto the barest minimum, urging the federal government to as a matter of urgency, strengthen SON to deliver on its mandate of ensuring that only goods that meet the minimum requirements of the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) are allowed in the nation’s markets.
“We think that the federal government should empower the SON more by ensuring that funds that are supposed to go to them to enhance their operations to fight these unscrupulous activities of faking and counterfeiting are given to them timely”.
“I want government to also look seriously into the issue of infrastructural decay in the country, while we talk about ensuring the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products; we also want the infrastructure to be developed so that our members and manufacturers in the country can operate under a favourable environment to make our products more competitive with our foreign counterparts,” the MAN helmsman stated.