Mr Joseph Odumodu
Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
Director General of the Standard Organisations of Nigeria (SON), Mr Joseph Odumodu, yesterday painted an unpalatable picture of the damage sub-standard and fake products importation into the country had caused the nation, adding that Nigeria losses in the excess of N1 trillion yearly basis.
He described the average Nigerian importer as a killer and unscrupulous due to the illicit business.
While appearing before the Senate Committee on Investment headed by Senator Nenadi Usman, Odumodu said the situation with fake and sub-standards products had gone so bad that everywhere you go, and in anything you touch is a sub-standard product.
He added that a survey conducted by him on assumption of office in last year revealed that 85 per cent of imports, which come into the country through the porous and expansive borders are fake and sub standard.
Besides the health implication of fake products, he said the country losses millions of jobs annually due to these smuggled goods. Areas, where these products are common he added were in electrical materials like cable wires and electrical bulbs.
For example, he said: “An average standard bulb is supposed to last 1,000 hours, but the situation in the country is that the bulbs hardly last up to a month.”
Odumodu told the joint committee that the scourge had taken a dimension where about 50 million sub-standard tyres were in circulation, stressing that such tyres, not necessarily used ones (popularly called tokunbo), caused 20 per cent of road accidents across the country.
He also said about 200 lives were lost to building collapses in several parts of the country, owing largely to the use of sub-standard building materials in the last five years.
The SON DG enumerated the challenges confronting SON to included sub-standard goods, increasing menace of counterfeit products and dumping which had made many local industries to fold up.
He stated that about 80 per cent of the sub-standard products have their sources from mainly Asia nations, stressing that the products cuts across building materials, tyres and spare parts, electronics and electrical accessories, saying buying the right bulbs would have saved the country about N500m annually.
While decrying the activities of smugglers as counterproductive, Usman said even though the session was supposed to be budget, the lawmakers would work hard to update the country’s legal apparatus that would lead to the reduction of smuggling activities across the country’s borders