The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have concluded arrangements to fight importation of substandard products into the country.
SON and NCS entered into the collaboration during the visit of the acting Director General of SON, Dr. Paul Angya to the NCS, Zonal Coordinator Zone ‘C’, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs (ACG) Azarema Abdulkadir at Area 1, Port
Harcourt, Rivers State.
Angya decried the influx of substandard goods in the country and the danger they portend, stressing that people could only live a healthy life, if there were quality goods in circulation.
The SON Director General called for the establishment of system that could support SON to flag red alert to nonconformity and substandard products in the ports and borders, pointing out that failure to address the upsurge headlong, would be detrimental to the economy of the country.
He said the nation was fighting another form of war against substandard products, even as he emphasised that SON would need the support of an institution like NCS to attain success in “fighting the war”.
His words: “Our mandate and what we do is very important for people living quality and fulfilled life. People can only live a quality life if there are quality goods in the market. Our job affects people’s lives. That is why we need collaboration from the Customs because they are the first
point of call of importation. Now is a very challenging time in our history and we must lay emphasis on quality and standard. Which area can we say is removed from the incidences of substandard goods? Substandard products have outrun the economy of the country. They have wreaked havoc to the nation’s economy.
“If we do not sanitize the country of substandard goods, all efforts for diversification of the nation’s economy will fail. Until we clean up the country of substandard products, our economy has not started. We, as a nation, have not started. We are in another type of war. These substandard products are seriously attacking our economy. Until we address the upsurge, we would make no headway”.
Angya disclosed that the organisation had shut down the Electronic Professional Clearance Certificate (EPCC) platform so that people bringing goods into Nigeria conformed to SONCAP regime.
According to him, for us to succeed, we need the cooperation of Customs as the landlords of the ports. They are first point of contact, when products land. So, we need their support. We need their manpower and their expertise. Customs have been assisting us in the past but we are asking them to give us more. The problem is there. It has not gone away. We need additional support from them to be able to curb the influx of substandard products in the country.
ACG Abdulkadir in his response noted that Angya touched salient issues affecting the nation, admitting that there was need to work together as government agencies.
Continuing, the Zonal Coordinator said: “We share the pains of the blames you are getting. The most important way to control and address it is by collaboration between SON and Customs. It is our responsibility to assist it in the fight against substandard goods. No single organisation can achieve effectively without the cooperation of relevant agencies. SON has the responsibility of checking importation of substandard products. But it is not in total control of the movement of the products. That has to do with the Customs, and I believe the essence of the visit is for collaboration.
“We have noted their problems and the NCS is prepared to cooperate with them to fight those challenges. We have been partnering for long; but, fraud is always ahead of control.
aThat is why we are now using ICT to track the areas that encourage fraud and importation of substandard goods”.