Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has called for more legislative backing for its activities in ridding the country of substandard products and has also initiated new measures to check the menace of fake goods in the markets.
SON said it would not back down on its zero tolerance for fake products campaign, which is aimed at reducing the over 80 per cent volume of fake and substandard goods in the country recorded in 2011 as well as improving Nigeria’s image, which has been tainted as a result of the proliferation of fake and adulterated products.
The Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, while hosting the House of Representatives committee on commerce and industry led by the chairman, Mohammed Onawo, in Abuja, noted that the visit, which is a performance of the committee’s statutory oversight functions, is also an affirmation of the SON’s to the broad economic programmes of the Federal Government.
“Beyond that, it engenders hope in us that after now, we are sure of the tacit support of the Members of the House of Representative in getting legislative backing for our activities,” he said.
He listed some of the legislative backing being sought by SON to include a crucial review of the Act setting up the SON; speedy dispensation of justice, with particular reference to those who contravene products standardisation laws as well as deterrent measures in the law; increased funding for the SON and the need for adequate manpower for the SON.
He said the agency was prepared to prosecute manufacturers/importers and distributors of substandard products in the law courts and the court of public opinion.
“We have now finalised a new SONCAP regime which will be launched in October, 2012 with the following features compulsory testing of all exports to Nigeria; Electronic transmission of certificates; issuance of SONCAP certificates by SON and electronic integration with NICIS. We believe the implementation of this new SONCAP regime is the most important and effective intervention required to address the influx of substandard products into Nigeria,” he said.
He also disclosed the introduction of electronic products registration with effect from October, 2012, a new products registration regime for all consumer products in Nigeria, explaining that this new process would facilitate traceability and create risk profiles of substandard products, importers and sources.
Odumodu said SON would continue to create greater awareness for the Nigerian mark of quality, while seeking possible government incentive in form of tax waiver for certified products manufacturers and making the MANCAP certification a criterion in the procurement programme and decisions of governments at federal, state and Local Government levels.
“We thank the President for his interest in improving the economy of which checking sub-standard products is a key component, but we certainly would do with more funding to achieve better results in the SON, one of the things which we have identified as key to our operations is the issue of modern laboratory facilities and we would be requiring about N10 billion to complete the first phase,” he said.
He said that SON’s ‘Zero Tolerance to substandard products’ initiative has actually been paying off with many companies and organisations joining the vanguard for this initiative.
“Even the merchant groups that use to plead ignorance have come to understand and appreciate the SON’s position to the extent of providing voluntary information on substandard products circulation,” he said.
For the manufacturing groups, he disclosed that the SON intervention is the arrival of a much needed bailout; a direct interpretation of the assertion that each substandard product that leaves the shelves, has created room for a quality Nigerian made product to be seen and purchased.
He said that at the end of the day, the House would have played its part well, contributing in a very profound way, to improving the job of standardisation and enhancement of the quality of lives of Nigerians, stressing that the economy could do better because Nigerian companies would manufacture more, sell more and employ more; thereby helping the government’s war against youth restiveness and other crimes precipitated by unemployment.