Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has begun sensitizing members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to ensure the freight forwarders fully understand SON’s activities and comply with its stipulations.
The exercise was arranged to ensure that freight forwarders are able to have a vivid picture of the functions, relevance and activities of the Standards Organization of Nigeria in a bid to ensure their compliance to SON and significantly reduce the volume of substandard products in the country.
At the previous symposium that held at NAGAFF headquarters, the Director General of Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Dr Joseph Odumodu revealed that SON had destroyed substandard goods worth N10 billion in the last four years.
Odumodu stated that the level of substandard products in the country is currently at 45% but he promised that the organization would work towards reducing the volume of substandard products to 15% in 2016.
Speaking on behalf of SON’s DG Odumodu in the subsequent workshop held at ANLCA headquarters, Engr. Bede Obayi highlighted recent achievements of the organization to include attracting N20bn investment in cable industry, creating over 3,000 jobs in the galvanized steel industry, free certification and training for over 500 SMEs annually, among others.
Engr. Obayi disclosed one major challenge facing the organization to be the inability of SON to mandate foreign countries especially China to scrutinize products to be exported from their countries the same way they scrutinize products made for their consumption. He asserted that over 80% of Nigerian imports are from China and other Asia countries but they refuse to mandate the same procedural checks they utilize for their consumable goods.
The president of ANLCA, Olayiwola Shittu while addressing journalists lamented that the Licensed Customs Agents were victims of corruption in the ports because of the non-compliance by importers and the opportunity of the non-compliance by security agents and government regulatory agents extorting and intimidating them.
“We are not perpetuators of the corruption but the victims. What we will try to do is to empower our members with knowledge because the e-transaction is a new thing in Nigeria but we must fully understand the procedures” he said.
Shittu added that the platform provided ANLCA the opportunity to learn, “it’s an opportunity for us to have this continuous training. As a clearing agent you know that the average importer is more concerned about maximizing profit than meeting the requirements of the federal government and stipulated Standards”.