The influx of illicit products into the country is not only injurious to the economy but also spells doom for the citizens. Several deaths and loss of valuable properties can be attributed to substandard and fake products that are brought in by crooked importers/ manufacturers, but SON can’t entirely claim to be oblivious of these sharp practices.
Worried by the economic and health/safety implications of these substandard goods, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) was established and has presence at land borders, airports, state’s capitals, but only at the seaports when needed.
However, despite the Federal Government efforts through SON in achieving only standard products being brought into the country, SON still appears to be struggling in the battle against the menace of substandard and fake products.
The agency’s rigorous efforts are being marred by some manufacturers or importers who still cut corners through the help of rogue SON officials.
Products seized are oftentimes on grounds of being substandard but importers part with huge amounts of money as fines and most times the goods are released into the Nigerian markets. Criminal importers and manufacturers who also know how lucrative substandard goods are, so they are bent on importing such goods because they can always pay their way through SON’s hurdles.
There is overwhelming evidence that Nigeria ranks among the world’s highest market for fake and substandard products and equipment. This is evidenced by the shameful scene of all kinds of poor quality goods and products that litter our open markets, shops, supermarkets, chemist and other retail shops. These fake and substandard products don’t just find their way to the market.
This problem has crippled a lot of business activities causing producers to reduce the quality of their products. Goods are also springing up everywhere in the country, most without authorization from relevant agencies.
The consequences of these substandard products in our society are not far fetched, from collapsed buildings to knocked engines on lonely highways, tire busting on a moving vehicle, electrical and electronic malfunctions among others.
Aside from the fact that this is a bad story for the nation, it negatively impacts the trend on the economy, and gives the country a bad reputation as well as discouraging genuine investors in creation of enterprise.
Many Nigerians over the years have continued to fall to the antics of the sellers of substandard products because their prices are relatively cheap and on the surface looks genuine. These fake or substandard products are cloned to look like the original ones. The seller makes a gain but for the consumer, his/her unending tale of sorrow commences. That is, if he does not lose his life or that of any member of his family in the process of using the products.
These importers and manufacturers can be virtually found in all sectors of the economy. They bring in tyres, building materials, motor spare parts, electric bulbs, wire and cables, steel products, telecommunication devices, drugs, food items, toiletries, basic household utensils, and accessories.
Poverty and low purchasing power are factors that drive the majority of the citizens to go after cheap and substandard products, however, SON should sanctify its house and ensure that all companies comply with set standards in accordance with its mandate and also tighten its inspection and clearance of imported goods.