By Dike Onwuamaeze
The Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Farouk Salim, has ordered manufacturers and importers of steel products to evacuate fake and substandard steel products in Nigerian market and prepare themselves for harmonised steel standard across West Africa.
Salim noted that the required Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) 117 must be adhered to because steel products are key materials used in building bridges and must pass the quality threshold to safeguard lives and property.
He also revealed that steps were underway to harmonise standards for steel production across West Africa sub-region to avail steel manufacturers the opportunity to produce and export to different countries within the region.
He added: “We want to also warn that any steel manufacturer caught circumventing quality assurance requirements will be prosecuted in line with the SON Act 14 of 2015.
“We are giving this warning because the life of every Nigeria is important; any product that will destroy lives and property is not worthy to be in the Nigerian market.”
The director general also stated that compliance to quality and standards would guarantee local and international patronage of Nigerian steel products.
“I understand that the steel manufacturers undermine one another through the production of substandard steel reinforcement bars under the name and code of rival firms and competitors.
“Such act is not acceptable and it is to the detriment of the unsuspecting end-users who buy and use the products.
“We also warn you to desist from tampering with any consignment put on hold by officials of the agency for suspected infractions during investigation and quality verifications, such acts by anyone in the steel or other sectors will attract the wrath of the law,” he warned.
Salim also warned that the agency will stop at nothing to bring sanity to Nigeria’s steel sector as the federal government has been working tirelessly to support and expand the exportation of steel products in order to improve the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
“We are assuring genuine manufacturers of SON’s resilience and doggedness to protect local production from unfair competition.
“We urge manufacturers to imbibe the culture of self-regulation and monitoring, it will help to prevent standards infractions,” Salim added.
He recalled that the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and its Transportation counterpart recently directed SON to commence calibration of all axle load weighbridges in Nigeria as part of measures to protect the roads from excessive loads by cargo trucks and trailers.