Director-General, SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a leading Chinese Certification and Inspection Group (CCIC) to address the prevailing influx of substandard goods into the country.
The Director-General, SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, said the partnership marks a new chapter in standardisation and quality assurance for products that will meet the new SONCAP regime.
The DG, during the signing of the MoU ceremony between SON and CCIC, explained that in the last two years, the country had experienced epidemic proportions of the influx of substandard products, noting that according to a survey, over 80 per cent of products across the country were substandard.
“We started querying the effectiveness of SONCAP regime and we later found out that some features in the SONCAP were not properly implemented and these are the issues we are going to address with the new SONCAP regime,” he added.
He therefore called on Nigerians to exercise patience with this new partnership, saying that SON needs time to show the sincerity of this initiative to reduce substandard products to the barest minimum in the country.
He said that the new SONCAP regime would ensure that the same batch of products that is being exported from any country also undergoes test in the country of origin.
“Every product that must come into the country must undergo through some form of testing and certification and that is why we have said that the independent accreditation agency has to take the sample from the same batch that is being exported to Nigeria or any of its neighbors,” he said.
According to him, about half of the imports into Nigeria come from the borders while the other half comes through the ports.
He said before now, the independent accreditation agencies were the ones issuing the SONCAP certificates, stating that there was a gross under-reporting on the number of transactions that involved SONCAP certificates.
“We have now said SON will be responsible in issuing SONCAP certificates while the independent accreditation agencies are required to do the sampling and testing where they will issue a certificate called a certificate of conformity (COC) to us electronically before we give out the SONCAP certificate,” he said.
“The SONCAP certificate is a mandatory customs clearing certificate in Nigeria. These are the major features that differentiate the old from the new. I hope that this partnership will be fruitful and at the end of the day, CCIC will meet our expectations,” he added.
He reiterated that SON was committed to ensuring that wrong products do not enter Nigeria, maintaining that SON was also committed in ensuring that companies that are involved in manufacturing of substandard products are dealt with.
The Deputy General Manager, CCIC, Mr. Cui Lei, said CCIC was out to improve the quality of products globally stating that this partnership with Nigeria would ensure that only quality products come into Nigeria giving better and healthy future to Nigerians.
He added that CCIC has the required network opportunities, experience and capabilities to address the issue of substandard products prevailing in most markets in the world.
“This is just the beginning of a new dawn and we would like a long lasting permanent relationship with Nigeria to ensure that both countries address its trade issues. These two countries are bound to have a better future,” he said.
He pointed out that CCIC is an independent third party certification and inspection organisation dedicated to providing inspection, verification, certification and testing services, with accreditation by general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine of the People’s Republic of China.
He added that CCIC has become a comprehensive one-stop service provider for international clients in the fields of quality, safety, health and environmental protection.
He noted that CCIC would also like to be a bridge between Nigeria and Chinese agencies to forge strong bilateral trade between both countries appealing to SON to provide the relevant and vital information in order to help CCIC carry out its activities in the most efficient and effective manner.
“CCIC enjoys a great reputation worldwide and is the most influential and comprehensive multi-national inspection and certification organisation in China,” he stressed.
He said presently, CCIC has over 16,000 employees in over 130 countries, professionally trained, with rich experience and international view.