SON Calls for Greater Compliance
As Customs Brokers Lament ordeal
The Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON, has called on Nigerian importers to be conversant with and adhere to statutory rules and regulations guiding importation of goods into Nigeria.
Speaking at a Sensitization workshop for clearing agents in the Western zone in Lagos, Director General of SON, Dr. Osita Aboloma, represented by Engr. Obiora Marafa, Director, Inspectorate/Compliance Directorate, ICD, at SON, appealed Customs brokers at the event to assist the agency in resolving the nagging challenge of fake/substandard products in Nigerian Markets to avoid the adverse effects which such products could cause to citizens.
Aboloma re-emphasized that SON is doing everything within its mandate to checkmate the influx of harmful goods into the country by intercepting them at point of entry.
“It is much more economical and easier for us to stop substandard items from entering the country than chase such from across the length and breadth of extensive land mass of Nigeria”, he said.
While restating SON’s preparedness to address issues arising from challenges of importation owing to ignorance on the part of importers, the DG asked all would be importers to visit any of their offices nationwide for guidance and support.
Brokers Weep, Lament.
While commending SON for the initiative, National President of the Nigeria Association of Nigeria Licensed Agents, ANLCA, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike insisted that through no fault of their’s, clearing agents are the sacrificial lambs of the Nigerian import/export chain.
Lamenting their ordeal, Nwabunike said, “We have lost over N20b in the last ten years through acts of seizure/destruction of imported goods through no fault of ours. Our members commit their funds into jobs only for such good to be seized and destroyed. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eyes of a needle than for an importer whose goods has been seized and destroyed to pay a clearing agent his/her balance”
Nwabunike noted that collaboration is the key to success because SON cannot do it alone, to achieve zero substandard import.
He also observed that the works of standardization, quality assurance as well as campaign against substandard products have always remained a collaborative and partnership efforts between the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and stakeholders.
“Over 75 percent of the bulks of products that enter into Nigeria daily, monthly or yearly come via the Nation’s Seaports and Waterways. It would therefore be difficult to ignore the Maritime Sector operators in the quest for zero imports for substandard and unwholesome products as well as the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Policy”. Nwabunike said.
Decrying the quantity of good often taken as sample for testing by SON officials, Mr. Ozor Chukwura, former ANLCA chapter chairman of Tin Can Command, called for return or refund on such items as the quantity taken has affected their businesses.
SON clarified that such samples were, after being subjected to tests were either destroyed or affected one way or another rendering them unfit for re-introduction into the markets through the importers/agents.