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MAN seeks SON returns to port


—- canvasses govt support to fight sub-standard goods

Chinazor Megbolu   |   
The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engr. Mansur Ahmed, is canvassing for Federal Government support for the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), over sub-standard goods in the country.
He said this during a courtesy call to MAN headquarters by the SON management team, saying the agency needs strong and full federal government’s backing in terms of finance in order to enable the agency perform its task efficiently.
MAN President noted that  SON needs to be assisted especially if the country would make headway in economic diversification and industrialisation.
Ahmeh explained that both the government and private sector players should support, co-operate and continue to partner with SON in a bid to checkmate counterfeiting and illicit businesses across the nation.
He used the opportunity to appeal to the federal government to allow the SON to return to the seaports as a way of checking the influx of sub-standard products into Nigeria.
“The presence of SON at the seaports would make its work more efficient and effective rather than allowing it to chase containers on the highways and markets.
“We have made strong representations to the relevant ministries and the agencies and we are making steady progress to ensure that there would be smooth operations at the ports when SON is returned’’.
“I believe that when they do that, the whole system will be harmonised so as not to generate another congestion at the ports.
“That was what led to the problem, but I believe that with the use of technology, better system would be put in place so that SON would be linked with other agencies to have one-stop shop,’’ Ahmed said.
Meanwhile, the Director-General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, in his remarks said the SON would soon roll out product authentication scheme in order to grow indigenous production.
He added that SON and MAN would form a partnership in  order to address the circulation of fake and substandard goods in Nigeria by coming up with a user-friendly product authentication mark to protect genuine manufacturers in Nigeria.
Salim further stated that the priority of the standards body was to protect indigenous and genuine producers, saying that SON has been working relentlessly to find a user-friendly and cost effective way of introducing product marks.
“Our priority is to protect our local industries because these industries have faith and confidence in the Nigerian economy hence, we need to protect their investment.
“I want to assure you that I am part of you and we support you 100 per cent.
“We are trying to find a more user-friendly way of introducing product marks. I feel that we can work together for manufacturers to voluntarily carry product marks while people importing would go through the scheme.
“That way, if there is an additional cost, it would be on those importing into the country.
“The advantage is that if the product authentication mark succeeds, local manufacturers would join voluntarily because they have seen the value in it while on the other hand, if we implement it, we will make sure that all imported products go through a certain level of scrutiny.
“I am appealing to the association for us to work together and find authentic companies, authentic marker to implement in such a way that it will not affect local manufacturers.
“SON would intensify its partnership with MAN to identify genuine local producers, saying that whatever existing benefits the association enjoys would be improved upon.
“Whatever existing benefits the association has with the standards body can only be improved. We have concessions that we give to MAN and this is one of the ways we encourage manufacturers to join MAN because they get the benefit of our concession and whatever certificate we get from MAN, we are going to honour it.
“For now we have to collaborate first and come up with an agreeable solution. We have both discussed the challenges we face and we are going to collaborate to address these issues long-term.
“We are going to form a forum that would comprise a lot of senior employees so that both parties would be able to discuss issues and make decisions to achieve a seamless operation,” Salim said

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