The preference of imported products to locally made products by Nigerians has been seriously frowned at by the Director General (GD) of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Dr Joseph Odumodu.
He said this during a courtesy visit he made to the Association of Nigeria Licenced Custom s Agents (ANLCA) at their secretariat last week in Festac , Lagos.
According to him “One of the challenges we face is that Nigerians tend to prefer products that are not made in Nigeria over Nigerian products, it bothers me because there is no country in the world that has ever made success in building their economy by consuming what others produce. Every time you buy an imported product, you are indirectly paying the salaries of workers in that country, and Nigeria does this very well”.
He further stated that SON is poised to reverse the trend. “In the next three or four years, my mandate is to see how we can reverse this process, this is why we are working towards making Nigeria products meet international standards, so that Nigerians should start patronizing made in Nigeria products and the country will also boast of many exportable products that meet international standards”.
He continued “If you add value to a commodity, it attracts a better price and then we will be indirectly making other countries pay for the salaries of Nigerians too when they patronise our products. These are the things we want to do but cannot achieve working alone, that is why we need your collaboration”.
Dr Odumodu further said that SON had entered into agreement with ANLCA to help facilitate its work procedures. “one of the things I came to do here today is to seek collaboration; I have worked alone for the past four years , see where it has landed us, SON today does not operate in the port and if I tell you the level of damage it has done to our economy, you will be amazed, we don’t know what is coming into the country, we don’t know the quality of what is coming. I am a student, I have learnt some lessons, now I want to be a better student and I realize that in other to do that , I have to work closely with critical stakeholders, partners. I am here because we have to rub minds and agree on how to chart a better course for all of us and I want to assure that moving forward, we will see a stronger partnership with SON and ANLCA”.”.
He stated further that the government should start consulting with critical stakeholders in the private sector before they brought up any policy that affected them.
According to him “Government must learn to consult with the private sector. If government wants to make policies, they must listen to you because you are the practitioners of the field, you understand the process you also understand the intricacies around any process. I think it is incumbent on the government to listen to input from organizations like you before they make any policy”.
Also speaking at the event was the National President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Chief Eugene Nweke who said that a law should be promulgated towards nipping the menace of importation of fake and substandard product to the country in the bud.
According to him a cargo confirmed of bringing fake or substandard product to the country should be promptly turned back to the country of origin and stiff sanctions slammed against the importers, a measure he said would serve as a deterrent to others that engage in such activities.
He maintained that a mutually beneficial partnership and collaboration aimed at curtailing the influx of fake and substandard product to the country should be sustained.