SON impounds substandard goods worth N22.7bn in 2018

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Ime Akpan

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has said that over N22 billion worth of substandard goods has been seized so far in 2018.

SON’s director general, Mr. Osita Aboloma, stated who disclosed this at the maritime stakeholders’ awareness forum held in Lagos on Thursday said most of the goods seized include electronic cables, tyres, lubricants, LPG cylinders and unfortified sugar.

Aboloma who was represented by the director, director general’s office, Mr. Kabir Mohammed said the essence of the workshop was to interact with  maritime players, to discuss import/export businesses, with the objective of getting them deeply committed to doing the right things, especially concerning import processes and procedures.

He lamented that the non-involvement of SON at some ports of entry in the country operations has continued to pose challenges, particularly to the agency’s compliance and monitoring units.

“In some ports, SON only gets invitation for cargo examination when “deemed necessary.

“The nation’s economy and the lives of Nigerians are also further endangered due to the influx of substandard goods,” he said.

He further said the theme of the Workshop ‘Stakeholders’ collaboration as a tool for zero substandard imports’ was key to achieving the goal of zero importation of substandard products into the country, imploring stakeholders to join hands with SON to sensitize and educate all importers and the public on the importance of quality goods and products.

Aboloma also stated that the work on standardization, quality assurance as well as campaign against the menace of substandard products remains a collaborative and partnership endeavour among SON and its stakeholders.

He however said the workshop would provide a veritable avenue for cross-fertilization of ideas, views, suggestions and solutions on how to move the nation’s maritime sector forward, especially in furtherance of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business policy relative to Electronic clearance, destination inspection and the on-going repositioning of the nation’s ports.

“Stakeholders need to be properly and adequately enlightened on the right things to do in relation to SON’s regulatory tools and requirements. The forum thus acts as a clearinghouse for all stakeholders and operators to smoothen all rough edges, with a view to moving the nation forward. We need to disabuse the minds of those who think that SON is out to shut down their businesses by insisting on the enforcement of quality and standards requirements,” he added.

He noted that at the end of the forum, stakeholders would have had a clear and enhanced understanding, knowledge and cooperation concerning SON’s processes and procedures especially in e-product registration and certification, SONCAP, MANCAP, NICIS, NIS forms.

We urge the importers, freight forwarders, clearing agents and the public to take optimum advantage of these sensitization programmes as it is not going to be business as usual from now on. We must endeavour to do the right things to protect lives and properties of Nigerians as well as the nation’s economy.

Also speaking at the event, the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr. Boniface Aniebonam, commended SON for its tireless commitment and efforts to rid the nation of substandard goods, stressing that its members would support SON to deliver on its mandate.

For his part, the national vice president of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto, said the move to sensitise stakeholders in the maritime industry was a welcome development.

He said ANLCA would ensure that before any cargo is cleared at the nation’s ports it must have SONCAP certificate.

“We are also working closely with SON to address the issue of false declaration. We must collaborate with SON to make sure that we stamp out substandard goods in our community.

At the Council for the regulation of Freight Forwarding, we are proposing a law to say once you are found to have been involved in the clearing of substandard goods at our sea ports, there must be a penalty for you such as stopping your license through Customs, blacklisting the agents to the Customs and also ensuring that the agent does not have access to our ports,” said Aboloma.

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