ANLCA Faults Absence of SON at Ports, Says Vacuum Responsible for Rising Influx of Substandard Goods
The National president, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, has called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency return the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to the nation’s seaports.
He said the country has continued to witness an increasing influx of substandard goods into the country due to the absence of the SON at the seaports.
Speaking at a SON/maritime stakeholders meeting in Lagos, he warned that the effort of some nonconformist has shown that there is need to get SON back at the ports.
“Frankly speaking, if this trend is not arrested urgently by providing solution, then it may affect our economy and dwindle our income drastically. The absence of SON as a regulatory agency in the ports encourages importation and smuggling of these substandard products,” he lamented.
“I advise that as professional customs brokers, we should at all times comply to ensure that we achieve zero substandard goods in our country,” he said.
He however urged the agency to desist from intercepting cargoes in a commando style, which he said rampant, advising the standards body to join hands, collaborate to have sanity in the nation’s ports operations, preach compliance, speak compliance if it eventually gets back to the seaports
According to him, if Nigeria must achieve ease of doing business, freight forwarders, licensed customs brokers must not be involved in dishonesty in their declaration, such as concealment, inaccurate description of imports and exports in order to circumvent the procedures, which are all impediments to achieving ease of doing business.
“We cannot afford to jettison standard best practice and enforcement of quality imports because we need to facilitate ease of doing business in our country,” he said.
He noted that the objective behind SONCAP is to help ensure that products imported to Nigeria meets minimum safety requirements, stressing that this would help ensure that Nigerian consumers are not exposed to potentially unsafe and sub-standard goods.
“However, we all have role to play that is to ensure that we do not facilitate, the clearance of such injurious cargoes. Sub-standard goods are goods deviating from or falling short of a standard or norm,” he added.
He stated that the decision by the federal government to vacate SON from the nation’s seaports has led to an increase in the imports of sub-standard goods
Earlier, the Director General of the SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, charged importers to shift their focus away from importation to invest into manufacturing, noting that is one of the surest ways to contribute their quota to economic development.
Indeed, the standards body stated that the move would help the nation save its hard earned foreign exchange while also creating job opportunities for the country’s teeming unemployed youths.
He urged importers to join hands with the federal government to make Nigeria great again.
“Most of you here are importing items have the ability to start producing your goods locally in this country. Why is it so difficult for you to put your money together the same way you put money together to buy 100 containers of one item. You can put money together and build a small factory and start producing start employing your people, start paying taxes to the government. We have to work together as Nigerians to save this country,” he advised.
Salim lamented over the continuous influx of fake and substandard goods into the country, saying the country cannot survive if the menace continues.
“If we continue to bring in substandard goods into the country, our local factories would be destroyed gradually leading to more loss of jobs in the country,” he said.
According to the SON boss, there is need for importers to complement the efforts of the federal government to addressing the unemployment situation, advising that investing into local production would go a long way to help Nigeria create lots of wealth while also solving its high unemployment rate currently at double digits.