Thursday, March 10, 2016 3:53 pm
Although the Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON has set for itself a target of trimming the influx of sub-standard and fake products into the country by 80 per cent before the end of 2016, it would be a difficult task to achieve. SON’s Acting Director General, Paul Angya, while speaking about the seizure of some containers loaded with gas cylinders recently, revealed that SON lacks the laboratory and equipment required to carry out tests to ascertain the quality of the products.
According to the SON DG, what this implies is that, as usual, sample of the goods would have to be transported back to a facility abroad where necessary tests would be carried out to determine the quality of the cylinders before being released into the Nigerian market.
But this long process is not without its downside. The cylinders, packed in large containers, have swallowed up almost all the space serving as SON’s inspection grounds. And for the importers and businessmen waiting for SON’s nod before they move their goods into the market, the unnecessary delay is regarded as inefficiency.
All past DGs that have been in charge of affairs at SON have fruitlessly pursued the standardization of the agency’s laboratories. And for Angya, like all the former DGs, the target for the organization is still set high. Despite the shortcoming, Angya says the reduction of the influx of substandard goods by 80 per cent is still achievable and would go a long way in lifting the capacity for local production towards diversification of the country’s economy.
The SON DG says the target is possible if the International Accredited Firms , AIFs, can continue to do their job of stopping the influx of sub-standard products into the country. “The IAFs should either shape up or ship out,” he says. According to Angya, the AIFs must still uphold the objectives of the SONCAP programme. ‘’ If we can stop the influx of sub-standard products into Nigeria, we will increase the local production of goods as we are taking the war to the countries bringing in the bad products to stop them from coming here,” says the SON DG.
Since SON does not boast a standard laboratory where the quality of many products can be determined, it prefers to carry out the inspection of such goods abroad in an attempt to stop the substandard products from being imported in the first place. But without the required facilities on ground to enable SON operate swiftly, many of such imports will keep finding a passage into the Nigerian market.