Worried by the increasing rate of imported fake and substandard products in Nigerian market, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has said it will not leave any stone unturned in implementing its statutory responsibility of total elimination or reduction of imported substandard goods.
Speaking during a one-day seminar on ‘Ethics and Integrity in Shipping Trade,’ held in Lagos on Thursday, Osita Aboloma, director general of the SON, called on importers and exporters including clearing agents to champion ethical practises in Nigeria’s shipping trade.
Aboloma, who bemoaned the persistent issues of false declaration and wasteful importation of substandard products or importation without undertaking the offshore conformity assessment (SONCAP), added that destroying such import incur undue cost on the importer, who might have taken bank’s credit facilities to invest .
Aboloma, who was represented by the agency’s director, Inspectorate & Compliance Directorate (ICD), Obiora Manefa, “SON has been battling tooth and nail to curtail the level of non conformity in shipping. Part of our approach was embarking on massive sensitisation of stakeholders in 2018, which we are going to continue this year.
“In line with our culture, we do hope that we shall find comfort in doing what is right at all times in order to save our nation from decadence and dangers associated with the importation and distribution of substandard products in Nigeria,” Aboloma said.
He said the SON has digitalised its processes to ease of doing business at ports and avoid delay. He added that SON has harmonised its activities with other agencies to near efficient service delivery.
On his own presentation, Manefa said the SON is ready to facilitate only the trade that conforms with standards in order to reduce loss of lives and property in the country.
“Importers indulge in several unwholesome activities including falsification of documents, false declaration and importation of unverified goods that endanger society and economy especially when the products are destroyed for adulteration purposes,” Manefa added.
Earlier, Hassan Bello, executive secretary of the NSC urged operators to adhere to international best practises in the conduct of export and import businesses, stating that this will go a long way in actualising the agency’s drive for a new port order.
“The goal of the Shippers Council is to promote an efficient port system that encourages healthy competition, enthrone transparency, facilitate trade, reduce cost of doing business, and make operators aware of their businesses, obligations, and liabilities.
“With high ethical practises in place at the ports, vices such as impunity, presumptions behaviours and ignorance with respect to adherence to procedures, rules and regulations will be minimised,” he said.
While commending the efforts of SON in ensuring compliance to import guidelines, Bello stated that the collaboration will create the needed opportunity for extensive interaction among stakeholders on the multifaceted dimensions of the problems of non-compliance at Nigerian ports.