Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) OsitaAboloma, has said that the agencyâ€™s newly introduced Product Authentication Mark (PAM) would raise the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products and boost the countryâ€™s economic diversification drive from oil to non-oil sector and check substandard products.
The PAM is a mark of quality fixed on all finished products to demonstrate their conformity to approved standards. It is issued as a sticker with security features and QR code which can be scanned by a smart phone. It is applied on each product to ensure traceability and tracking of imported and local products.
Speaking at a stakeholdersâ€™ forum on PAM in Lagos recently,Aboloma said PAM would reduce counterfeiting of products which had become a clog in the wheel of the progress of local manufacturers, adding that it was one of the federal governmentâ€™s initiatives targeted at improving the business environment.
â€œWe started it because counterfeiting is an age-long menace that has burdened us, leading to the influx of substandard goods in Nigeria. It also makes it difficult for local manufacturers to be competitive,â€ he said.
He added: â€œIt is our opportunity to deploy technology and authenticate products shipped into the Nigerian market.â€
Certain items such as food products, drugs, and machineries of manufacturers, among others, are exempted from PAM, which will tentatively take effect on February 1, 2018.
According to the acting Director, Product Certification, SON, TersooOrngudwem, the PAM was important to manufacturers as it would enable them to sell their products and easily trace them in the market.
Orngudwem said the agencyâ€™s initiative would reduce the cost of changing logos while ensuring that consumers buy products that gave them value for their money.
â€œI know of some companies that change their logos here every quarter. With PAM, the companies should be able to reduce that cost and put the money elsewhere,â€ the acting director of product certification said.
He stated that the N3 cost per stamp could be negotiated and that the initiative would be a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
On his part, DG of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), BabatundeIrukera, said his agency supported the PAM as it would protect consumers from buying counterfeits and cloned products.
He added that people were dying in Nigeria due to substandard products in the market but added that the new initiative of SON would help reduce that to the barest minimum.
â€œI believe that the federal government should declare a state of emergency on the counterfeiting sector,â€ he stated.
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Jacobs, commended SON for the initiative, underlining some of the benefits they would derive from it.
â€œWe are aware that this mark will further improve patronage of made-in-Nigeria products, clearly identify original products, further safeguard the health of consumers, provide unambiguous means of authentication and heavily reduce grey trade activities such as smuggling and counterfeiting,â€ Jacobs said.