Dr. Joseph Odumodu
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stepped up its move to rid the nation of sub-standard products in 2013, with renewed pursuit of the passage of the National Quality Bill currently before the National Assembly.
The regulatory agency has also given all manufacturers and importers of goods and products till May this year to obtain a product registration code or face the seizure of such product.
These moves were disclosed by the Director-General of the agency, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, in an interactive chat with journalists in Lagos.
Odumodu, who was surrounded by his team, also revealed that his agency was determined to reduce the prevalence of substandard goods in the country to 30 per cent from the current 50 per cent, which is also in line with the Minister of Trade and Investment’s recent directive to the organisation.
He also revealed that his agency was collaborating with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to get a listing of all filling stations in the country, and that once a list is obtained samples and tests would be taken and conducted on their products and any station that fails would be sealed, starting from February.
Odumodu also added that a new SON Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) process would commence on February 1, while a laboratory located in Lagos would soon have some of its units certified to check the malaise of substandard goods and products in the country.
He admitted that the importation of used tyres popularly called tokunbo was still a problem in the country, adding that his agency was collaborating with other sister agencies and government organisations to check the influx of substandard goods in the country.
“We don’t have a National Quality Policy. We are going to promote that this year. This will help us identify national quality infrastructure and the policy has a number of rationales. Government has a responsibility to manage all legislation and needs to give industry and standards support.
“Government needs to have assessment of the conformity standard services that are affordable and accepted globally, so that tested products are certified and accepted. We need a conformity assessment system that is globally accepted. We don’t have that and we are not linked to the world,” he said.
The SON boss added that in 2013 his agency needs to change the strategy for sustainability and to connect to the world. “Substandard products are outcomes of a failed system and the fight against this issue is everybody’s fight”, he said.
He disclosed that the National Quality Bill would be going through public reading in the next few days at the National Assembly, and that legislators would be taken to other African countries to enable them get a first-hand experience of how the problem is being tackled in such nations.
Odumodu, who insisted that substandard products were not peculiar to Nigeria alone, said effective and proper disposal of seized products was being looked into by the agency.
He urged manufacturers and importers to embrace the e-registration process, which could be found on the agency’s website. He disclosed that the e-registration process would allow only a three-month window for registration in Nigeria, and that after May, any product that does not conform to standard would be withdrawn and seized.