By Bennett Oghifo
Cable Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CAMAN) has appealed to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to protect the nation’s cable industry from importers of substandard and fake products.
CAMAN stated this, during the week, when it visited officials of SON in Lagos where it donated a Hilux double cabin van to SON, as part of their corporate social responsibility. The President of CAMAN, and Chief Executive Officer, Cutix Plc Nnewi, Mr. Ifeanyi Uzodike said their organisation is the umbrella body of all indigenous producers of wires and cables.
Uzodike said, “The association decided to use this occasion to present a brand-new Toyota Hilux Vehicle to SON as part of our effort to support them in carrying out the enormous duties of protecting our land borders, sea ports and markets.
“This is to ensure that only goods which meet our national and internationally acceptable standards are brought in to Nigeria.”
The CAMAN President then listed some of the major challenges threating their association as: influx of substandard wires and cables. “Our major markets in this country are flooded with substandard wires and cables that do not meet both national and international standards. The presence of such wires and cables in our markets is growing at an alarming rate and there appears to be no visible attempt to curb this menace.
“The federal government through the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment needs to support SON to eradicate the presence of substandard wires and cables in our markets through constant monitoring of the market, seizure and destruction of substandard cables.”
He said there was large scale adulteration and faking of cables. “Our markets are also flooded with adulterated wires and cables brought in mainly from Asian countries. Traders import fake and cloned cables of indigenous manufacturers in large quantity and brazenly display them in the markets. Our industries are threatened by the high rate of adulteration which affects the sales of our genuine wires and cables.”
He also presented the issue of local content policy, saying “We need a viable Local Content Policy that affects all segments (Oil & Gas, Building & Construction, power, etc.) It is disheartening that from time to time we hear that government has a Local Content policy.
“It may surprise most of you that we have never been contacted as stakeholders to contribute to the formulation of the Local Content Policy which is meant to protect our industries. Our submission is that any local Content Policy which does not take into consideration inputs from major stakeholders cannot be a good policy.”
Uzodike said there was lack of patronage by the government: “Indigenous Cable Manufactures have not been patronized by the Federal Government. A careful examination of beneficiaries of orders by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) or most of the Independent Power Plant projects will show that indigenous manufacturers in Nigeria did not benefit from these projects.
“The policies in place are such that contractors handling such projects know that they are better off by importing cables which are most often substandard.”
He discussed the challenge of SONCAP PERMIT, stating that “SON introduced Standards Organization of Nigerian Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) permits to ensure they curb the influx of substandard products.
“We expect SON to guide their permits jealously. The issuance of SONCAP permits to traders who wish to bring in low voltage wires and cables that are produced in Nigeria has contributed a great deal to creating the enabling environment for traders who are dubious and wish to bring in substandard products. “We wish to urge SON to review their policy on SONCAP permits with a view to making sure that it is not abused or misused.”
On Foreign Loans/Aids, he said “Another means by which some countries have undermined the growth of the industrial sector in Nigeria is by offering foreign loans/aids to Nigeria.
“Using our industry as a case study, foreign wires and cables are used in the execution of projects funded by foreign loans such as the Airport projects.
“The foreign loans are designed in such a way by the countries providing the support that it allows them to bring in products made in their countries as opposed to cash. We consider it unhealthy to allow this situation to continue to prevail.”
On the Introduction of Product Authenticity Mark (PAM), he said “The desire by SON to seek for ways to curb the influx of substandard products and adulteration is commendable. However, PAM will not solve the problem and may worsen the already bad situation. Individual companies should be encouraged to seek ways to protect the integrity of their products.”
On the introduction of special tax on imported finished wires and cables, he said “Most countries in the world use special levy and some form of additional import tax to protect goods that are made in their countries. “We wish to urge the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment to push for a 100% surcharge for individuals who want to import finished cables and a 75% surcharge for those importing already drawn wires of different sizes.”
Uzodike to SON “We want to commend the current management of SON and indicate our willingness as an association to offer necessary support to help them execute their job. We also want to observe that the continued influx of substandard wires and cables in our markets is an irony.
“It is greatly acknowledged that our industry is one where cables made in Nigeria are rated better than foreign cables. Yet the menace of imported cables continues unabated. “We hope that this press release will help draw the attention of the government to our plight and lead to the formulation of policies that will contribute to the growth of our individual companies and Nigerian economy.”
Uzodike’s team, which was made up of other Chief Executives of companies that manufacture cables, was received by a senior official of SON, Engr. Bede Obayi, who assured them of the organisation’s cooperation at all time.