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SON unveils new product authentication mark to curb substandard products

SON unveils new product authentication mark to curb substandard products

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has introduced a new Product Authentication Mark (PAM) to facilitate the verification of source and quality products in the Nigerian market and reduce the influx of substandard products.

PAM is a digital technology that complements the SON Conformity Assessment Programmes (SONCAP) and Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) to fight substandard and counterfeit products in Nigeria.

Speaking at a general sensitisation on the PAM scheme in Lagos, Ifeanyi Okeke, director general of SON, said the initiative was to enable consumers to verify the authenticity of all SON-regulated products in the markets.

Represented by Onuchenyo Enebi, director of the Product Certification Department, he decried that imported goods account for over 80 percent of substandard goods in the country.

He said the nation’s manufacturing industry is already battling with the effect of substandard goods on the economy and the myriads of challenges hindering the sector’s productivity.

“This scheme gives consumers the power to detect, reject and report substandard goods in markets by simply scanning a QR code with their smartphone or sending an SMS to 281 before they buy. It will position SON to protect citizens and ensure everyone gets value for money,” he said.

He said that ensuring that all imported and manufactured products meet the requirements of the relevant standards as provided in the SON Act 2015, would promote public safety, and improve the lives and security of the citizens of Nigeria.

He said the agency over the years has continued to fight against the importation, manufacturing and distribution of substandard products in the country through its MANCAP and SONCAP schemes.

“However, substandard products are still being imported or manufactured and distributed in the country through the use of fake SON stickers on non-certified products among others,” he said.

According to him, the PAM scheme will place Nigeria in an advantageous position at this time when Africa is looking to operate a borderless trade, with the actualisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

He said PAM would go a long way to ensure Nigeria is not a dumping ground for substandard/inferior goods.

He lauded Doris Uzoka-Anite, minister of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for the strong support and encouragement.

Also, Pius Manji, director of the Inspectorate and Compliance Department at SON, said the influx of substandard goods is like corruption that needs to be reduced to its barest minimum.

He said there are other routes through which people bring in goods to beat the SONCAP and MANCAP, and the PAM is more of a further check on all imported products.

“Even if we deploy all the staff of SON to check for substandard goods it will still not be enough considering the size of Nigeria. With PAM, customers have the right to authenticate the product and verify the conformity of that product before paying for it. The PAM sticker has 21 security features and has been practised in Kenya, Egypt, and Uganda for over 10 years,” he said.

He said PAM would give Nigerian consumers the power to fight the influx of substandard products.

On his part, Emenike Nwokeoji, president of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA), commended SON for introducing the PAM scheme, saying it would go a long way to address the influx of substandard products imported from overseas.

He reaffirmed ANCLA’s support of the scheme and vowed that all of its members would key into the initiative.