The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has strengthened its initiative to fight forgery of its import certificate documents.
This will be made possible with the launch of its sophisticated technology.
Besides, the standards body noted that the move was imperative in a bid to combat the preponderance of fake and substandard goods as over 85 per cent of goods are currently being imported through the ports.
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, stated this during the House of Representatives Committee on Industry oversight function to SON Ogba laboratory in Lagos.
Salim, however urged the committee to support SON’s quest to establishing more laboratories in the country, stressing that the agency is inundated with so many goods to certify, monitor and test.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the only laboratory in the country that serves about 200 million people. The significance of your presence is the fact that you would see for yourself the amount of work we are doing and the amount of work we need to do to make this country safer, to make our industries competitive and to protect our people from substandard goods,” he said.
He added that the oversight function cannot be overemphasized at a time when the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is in full force, stating the need to develop the nation’s testing capacity to address unscrupulous elements who would want to use the trade pact to make Nigeria a dumping ground.
“Presently, our industries are at a disadvantaged position because they cannot expand export because we need to have enough capacity to test, monitor and certify local products, we need even more capacity to make sure that we train the small scale industries in the country.
“ In that light, we have signed lots of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with several Governors and ministries in various states to help SMEs package, label and manufacture their products and certified for exports.
“We have potentials to do even more and we have lots of responsibilities but little tools to work with,” he said.
He added that SON would be increasing its collaboration with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) especially in the nation’s oil and gas sector, adding that SON recently just launched a more secured certification process to address issues of faking and forging of SON certificate.
The SON boss said it is taking the gospel of standardization to every part of the country, adding that most of the Governors that the agency has been privileged to meet have been welcoming restating their commitment to work with SON by way of providing lands for the establishment of State offices and laboratories.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dolapo Badru, said only physical examination is one of the surest ways to address the influx of substandard goods into the country.
According to him, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) does not have the capacity to test for goods at the entry point, maintaining that the absence of SON at the nation’s ports is responsible for the influx of substandard product into the country.
“ Ordering SON out of the ports will only spell doom for the nation’s local products while also putting the lives of many unsuspecting Nigerians to risk.
“We are very resolute in our efforts to make sure that issues hindering the agency’s operations are addressed because of influx of substandard products,” he siad
He reaffirmed the House Committee’s commitment to returning the standards body back to the ports, assuring SON of the leadership of National Assembly’s involvement.
“It is so sad and we have risen to send a resolution backed by the house, but yet nothing has been done. Since then and now, there have been thousands of avoidable deaths. We insist that physical examination is the only way to stop influx of substandard goods coming in through the ports, he said.
According to him, the Act that sets up SON clearly stipulated that SON should be at the ports. We will on our own start up this process again and this time we will involve the leadership of the National Assembly,”
“The NCS are not trained in detecting substandard products coming into the country, so eliminating SON from the ports is a recipe for disaster. We as a committee, we have to take this up and we assuring you of our support to get SON back at the ports”. he said.