SON PLEDGES COMMITMENT TO JAPAN/NIGERIAN TRADE, AGAINST COUNTERFIETING

Engr. Bede Obayi presenting the DG’s opening address at the seminar

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Customs Service and other regulatory and business facilitating agencies in the country have pledged their commitment to fighting counterfeiting of Japanese brands and products being imported into or made in Nigeria.

This pledge was made at an Anti-Counterfeiting Seminar jointly organised by the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Victoria Island,  Lagos.
In his opening speech, the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Osita Aboloma remarked that “One of the known sources of substandard products across the world is counterfeiting which in itself is an illicit trade, destroying lives and eroding economies world wide”.
According the SON helmsman who was represented by Engineer Bede Obayi, Director, Inspectorate and Compliance, SON, counterfeiting has been a major source of worry to governments, businesses and regulatory  institutions in developed and developing economies around the world.
Aboloma lamented Nigeria’s case within the West Africa region and the continent, especially with her huge population, stressing that it is a worrying scenario for the negative effects of counterfeiting and the illicit trade associated with it.
He enumerated the negative effects of counterfeiting as including;
 – that the products usually do not meet
    Standards specifications,
 – they are mostly life endangering and
   do not give value for money
 – being an illicit trade activity, they
   constitute a drain on national income
   through taxation evasion,
 – they are a threat to national security as
   the proceeds are usually not traceable
 – they deprive industry of legitimate
   sales and undermine long term
   legitimate businesses.
According to the SON DG, the unscrupulous activities of counterfeiters is a continuous threat to the genuine efforts of the Nigerian government aimed at promoting local industries, protecting genuine investments and advocating the ease of doing business, in order to boost the confidence of the international community.
Aboloma however surmised that, for government efforts to be palpable, brand owners need to share intelligence and classified information with SON and other regulatory and security agencies.
He called for increased consumer complaints to regulatory and security agencies, with coordinated efforts at brand protection by manufacturers, importers, franchisee’s  and brand owners, coupled with improved capacity building and advocacy for regulators and consumers to easily distinguish between genuine and counterfeited products .
The SON Chief Executive commended the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the Japanese Embassy and Japanese business community for the worthwhile initiative of an anti counterfeiting seminar to enlighten regulatory agencies in Nigeria
on ways of curbing the menace of counterfeiting of well known Japanese brands in the country, pledging that SON will continue to provide necessary support within its mandate to genuine businesses in Nigeria.
According to him, in addition to the SON Act No. 14 of 2015 which gives the agency legal backing to battle any unscrupulous infractions on issues of substandard products and their purveyors, SON has the necessary quality framework for importers, manufacturers, brand owners and franchisee’s through its Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) certification scheme, for locally manufactured products; the off-shore Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) for imported products and the  electronic product registration scheme, to protect both the consumers and business owners.
The Trade Commissioner/Managing Director JETRO, Shigeyo Nishizawa in his address, stated that counterfeiting of well known Japanese brands is a huge challenge to the economies of Nigeria and Japan as well as a threat to lives and properties of the former.
According to him, JETRO’s objective in  hosting the anti – counterfeiting seminar was to provide necessary insights on how to distinguish genuine popular brands from Japan from the counterfeited versions, to operatives of relevant government agencies and institutions in Nigeria.
These he said include, SON, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, National Copyrights Commission and Nigerian Packaging Institute amongst others,
He disclosed that the Japanese government under the Ministry of Trade and Investment had held similar advocacy seminars in the Middle East, pointing out that this was the first time such was being held on the African soil.
Japanese companies and brands that made presentations on
anti-counterfeiting measures at the occasion  included, Toshiba, Brothers Company Ltd. NGK spark plugs, Panasonic, etc.
A cross section of paricipants


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