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SONCAP, offshore inspection have failed, Ex NAGAFF President laments

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Abiola Seun

The former President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Eugene Nweke, said the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Program (SONCAP), has been compromised and cannot meet the present day shipping realities.

SONCAP certification is a Quality System in place to determine whether manufactured products are produced consistently over time with the same quality product abroad.

But, Nweke in a press statement made available to newsmen titled “My Candid advise To SON Management On Its Quest and Propagation To Return To Ports,” he said offshore appointment of inspection agents doesn’t justify the reality on ground either.

he said, “SONCAP program is presently compromised, can not meet the shipping realities on ground, neither has your offshore appointment of inspection agents justified the reality on ground.”

Nweke, the Managing Director, Virtues Marine and Freight Services, however, asked SON to return to the drawing board to review its present shipping policy and guidelines as it relates to compliance with product certification and shipping into the country.

He said, “Years ago, port managers saw need to carry out an experiment on how to improve and increase the efficiency of ports operational services.

“At the end, it was proved that, port operational efficiency and effectiveness in terms of costs, requires Mechanisation – which does not only speed up the process, saving time and money, but also reduces the strain on workers.

“Equally, after an extensive experimentation on the standardization of port cargo handling operations, it was resolved that It is more cost effective for all ports to use the same handling methods and standardized equipments, without which delays persists, where cost efficiency and competitiveness will not be achieved.”

“In the same manner of corporate reasoning towards achieving efficiency,  while noting that,  it is usually a challenge to integrate high productive with economy, and safety (including product quality and handling) can sometimes become less than the number one concern, mostly so, where prioritization is apt.

“However, I insist that, the SON doesn’t not need to be inside the port to checkmate the quality standards of import products, rather, like in other climes, the SON should get back to its drawing table and review (and possibly self critic) its present shipping policy and guidelines as it relates to compliance with product certification and shipping into the country.”

He further stated that SON’s emphasis should be on basic shipping guidelines in adherence to product quality

“Let me reiterate again, the  SONCAP program as presently compromised, cannot meet the shipping realities on ground, neither has your offshore appointment of inspection agents justified the reality on ground.

“As a professional and patriots, I will advise the DG to liaise with the Minister to set up a technical committee to review this process and come up with sound and practicable recommendation.
“You can not separate product quality regulation from the totality of its trading manouvres or facilitation.
“But you can  achieve product regulatory efficiency, with a proper collaboration with a critical links in the international trade safety and security supply chain management.

“Be objective and less subjective in administration policy articulation and drive.

“Your staff never know it all, in the matter of international trade dynamics.
“Where and when the need beckons, while sustaining stakeholders engagement, also be proactive in consultation, set technical committee for a specific tasks,  or engaged and explore with an open mind, the collaboration of industry agencies,” he ended

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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