The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stated that greedy importers are responsible for the preponderance of substandard goods in the country.
The Director-General, SON, Farouk Salim, explained that unscrupulous importers are in the business of importing fake products to maximise profit not taking into cognisance the negative effects their actions have on the Nigerian populace.
He stated this at the destruction exercise of some substandard goods it intercepted in various markets across the country.
In his words: “It is all about profit. These unscrupulous dealers want to double their profits. These people are carrying out these nefarious activities in order to make more money. They could make money by importing standard goods, but they make more money importing substandard goods.
“Some of them do not understand the consequences of what they are doing, but some of them already know from the onset and go ahead because they want to make money. We have secret information that some of these activities are financing a lot of insecurity in Nigeria,” he added.
He, however, re-emphasised the need for SON to be at the nation’s port of entry, saying that the fight against substandard goods is best fought at the ports.
“We have been arguing for a long time and all these products you are seeing are products that are imported into Nigeria. They come through the ports and they are smuggled through the ports. If we are in the ports, definitely, we will minimise the amount of damage done to this country. But most of these products were in the market already waiting to be sold to the customers. It will be much easier for our employees if we are able to be at the source of the import of these substandard products.
“These products could have been manufactured genuinely in Nigeria where thousands of Nigerians would have been employed, taxes would have been collected, communities would have been stable if these products were genuinely produced locally. We have the ability to produce these goods locally because we have genuine manufacturers,” he stressed.
According to him, manufacturers are being affected by this unwholesome act and the act has reduced their ability to produce more goods.
“People buying or selling substandard goods should know that anytime they buy a substandard goods they are taking away jobs from Nigerians. We should understand the consequences,” he advised.
Earlier, the president of Cable Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CAMAN), Mrs. Bukola Adubi, said CAMAN has been having several conversations about how best to stop the menace, saying that adulteration has been hitting deep into manufacturers’ bottom lines.
“Some of us unfortunately have been blacklisted by some major companies because they seemingly bought cables from the market and it has had issues. So this is affecting our legacy, it is affecting our brands; it is affecting our bottom lines. So coming here to see what SON is doing is very heart-warming.
“I am very happy and I can go back comfortably and confidently telling my people that SON has got our backs and given some time, we will see an end to it.”
She restated the association’s commitment to support SON to fight against the prevalence of adulteration and substandard goods in the country.
She stated that the decision to order SON out of the port is not the best decision, saying the fight against substandard goods should be fought at the ports and not in the markets.
“Having SON officials chase containers on the highways is pointless because these greedy importers have different strategies to beat SON. SON has to go back to the port. They need to go back to where these products are emanating from and nip it in the bud. Lives and property are at stake. People are dying because of these products,” she lamented.
The Head, Lagos Office, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Mrs Susie Onwuka, said the commission has been entering different Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with different regulatory agencies to address the influx of substandard goods.
She stated that the Commission would strengthen its partnership with SON to combat the menace of substandard goods into the country.
The Assistant Chief, Scientific Officer, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Mrs. Bisiriyu Adesewa, commended SON for its proactive approach towards addressing the influx of substandard goods, adding that the destruction exercise is also in line with its guidelines to ensure a safe environment.