SON warns importers against unauthorised use of its logo

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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has warned unscrupulous importers against the use of its logo to deceive unsuspecting customers to sell their goods in the country.

Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma gave the warning at its sensitisation workshop with International Market Association Electronics (IMAE) Alaba on Tuesday in Lagos.

Aboloma, decrying the act which he described as unacceptable and fraudulent, maintained that defaulting importers would be prosecuted accordingly.

Aboloma represented by Director in-Charge SON Lagos, Kabir Mohammed said the standards body was on top of its game to ensure that substandard goods were brought down to the barest minimum.

He tasked electronic dealers to align with bringing in goods as Completely Knock Downs (CKDs) and Semi Knock Downs (SKDs) for assembling and branding.

“You are belabouring yourselves for promoting and selling another man’s products for over four decades. It is about time you owned your brand and we have the standard to support you.

“Coming to Alaba is to bring standards to the door step of the trader and importer and you know of course that people come to this market from all parts of the country as well as other African countries to buy products and complain.

“The best thing to do is to come to enlighten them on how to apply standard to boost trade. It is only when they do the right thing that the sector will impact on the nation’s economy through wealth creation and employment opportunities,” he said

The SON boss also tasked the association to engage in self-regulation to checkmate the influx of substandard goods in the country.

He disclosed that a joint taskforce has been formed comprising of SON officials and members of the association to combat the influx of substandard goods in the country.

“The reason for establishing this team is to advise and guide them on the standards applicable. We want them to know what the standards in Nigeria are and what is also obtainable in other climes so working together, they will know the right way to do things,” he said.

Aboloma revealed that the level of compliance to standards by importers had improved significantly, and reiterated that the body would intensify efforts at increasing its level of engagement with the public on the negative impact of substandard goods in the country.

Also speaking at the event, the Director, Inspectorate, Compliance and Directorate, SON, Engr. Obiora Manafa, said the sensitisation workshop themed “Promoting Self-regulation to eradicate substandard electronics from Nigerian markets was to encourage electronic dealers by stimulating local production against importing.

“One strategy we are applying today is to promote self-regulation and a Joint task force has been formed to fight the influx of substandard products into the country. We are also telling them that it is good for them to create their own brands instead of faking successful brands,” he said.

He advised the dealers to register their brands with SON, saying that as far as their products were successful at the safety parameters and market requirements, their goods would be patronised.

“We are here to sensitise the traders to do the right thing by importing only products that comply with the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS). From our experience, we have observed that most of them import substandard products where many of them fail market requirements in the sense that they bring in the goods unbranded with the intention of faking,” he added.

Head, Ports and Borders, SON, Yahya Bukar said the challenge faced by the standards body to address the influx of substandard goods was enormous.

Bukar explained that in spite of the standards body’s connection to the Nigerian Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS), the SON could only view documents on the platform, but could not examine containers easily except invited by the customs.

“We sometimes view a document, but the information of the document is different from what we have in the container, most of the times it is difficult to judge whether these goods meet our requirements since we do not have access to these containers and we cannot be able to verify the declaration,” he said.

“We also face another challenge where some clearing agents try to connive with the importers to circumvent the laws. We expect these clearing agents to be the ones to explain things better to these importers,” he added.

He stated that the SON was already prepared for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), but stressed the need for the SON to be strategically positioned at the ports for Nigeria to be competitive when the trade deal commences.

“We will have a lot of advantages to monitor the products that are coming in if we are strategically positioned, but if we cannot monitor, all other African countries will subdue Nigeria with their own products, but if we can monitor these products coming in, we will be able to curtail the influx of substandard goods,” he said.

Executive Chairman, Alaba Electronics, Mr. Paulinus Ugochukwu, commended SON for the sensitisation workshop, saying that his members had all started selling their own brands of electronics.

He, however, called on the federal government to provide basic infrastructural facilities to help drive the manufacturing sector of the economy.

“We already have a Joint Task Force comprising members of SON management and our members to ensure that substandard goods do not thrive in the nation’s market. Henceforth, anywhere they see substandard products they seize it,” he added.

Photo: Director General, SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma.

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