SON, SHIPPERS COUNCIL HARP ON INTEGRITY, ETHICS TO COMBAT SUBSTANDARD IMPORTS

 Engr. Obiora Manafa delivering the DG’s address at the Stakeholders Workshop on Ethics and Integrity in Lagos
Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council, Hassan Bello also addressing the Stakeholders Workshop.

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) have emphasised the need for players in the nation’s maritime industry to adhere strictly to codes of ethics with utmost integrity to boost trade facilitation while also curtailing the influx of substandard goods into the country.

Both agencies stated that about 80 per cent of substandard cargoes that find their way into the nation’s shores are attributable to lack of integrity on the part of Industry players than regulatory failure. They called on players in the maritime sector to always carry out their activities in line with global best practices.
The admonitions were given at a joint sensitisation workshop on ethics and integrity for maritime Stakeholders in Lagos the SON and NSC.
Addressing the workshop, Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma represented by the Director, Compliance, Engr. Obiora Manafa said the partnership with NSC was in consonance with the Federal Government’s directive on synergy among its agencies to promote the ease of doing business and the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
He pointed out that the workshop further exemplified the collaboration between SON and NSC in ensuring effective service delivery to stakeholders,  starting with adequate sensitization.
Aboloma posited that adherence to code of ethics would ensure that customers and stakeholders receive services in a fair manner and provide necessary guidelines for adjudging the integrity of services rendered. These according to him would help to foster the trust of stakeholders and the society in general.
He added that SON has been proactive in ensuring that requisite standards are available for most products in the Nigerian markets, stressing that the Organisation has set up a regulatory framework for compliance with these standards.
The SON Chief Executive stated that the SON website is regularly updated with information on its activities, procedures, charges, penalties and policies in conformity with the presidential executive order on the ease of doing business.
He noted that human capacity building is also being seriously pursued to ensure necessary manpower to drive the upgraded processes and provide excellent services beyond the expectation of its clients in the maritime industry and other sectors of the economy.
Aboloma expressed concern over the unsavoury issues of false declarations, wilful importation of substandard products or importation without undertaking the offshore conformity assessment (SONCAP) process that are still in practice, maintaining that SON has been battling tooth and nail to curtail these non-conformances.
According to him, SON is undertaking massive sensitisation campaigns, including the forum with the maritime Stakeholders to educate them and other participants on SON’s role and other regulatory policies of the government.
“In line with our culture, we do hope that we shall find comfort in doing what is right at all times in order to save the nation from decadence and the dangers associated with the importation and distribution of substandard products in Nigeria,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, said the seminar was aimed at ensuring that stakeholders adhere to international best practices in the conduct of their export and import businesses.
This he stressed, would help to actualize the NSC’s drive for a new port order to reduce costs, improve efficiency and combat the influx of substandard products.
He commended SON’s unwavering efforts to rid the country of substandard products, adding that the council’s goal was to promote an efficient ports system that would encourage healthy competition, enthrone transparency, facilitate trade, reduce cost of doing business and ensure that all players are aware of their duties, obligations, responsibilities and liabilities.
The NSC Chief Executive said high ethical practices within the ports system, would help minimize vices such as impunity, presumptuous behaviours and ignorance with respect to adherence to procedures, rules and regulations.
Making a presentation titled “Role of SON in Nigeria’s Maritime Industry”, Manafa acknowledged that most importers have begun to conform to standards in response to SON’s continuous engagements and sensitisation programmes on the negative implications of illicit trade to the economy and welfare of  Nigerians. “Although some importers have refused to change and are still indulging in unwholesome activities such as false declaration and cloning of established brands, we will continue to fight to reduce this nefarious trade drastically and bring perpetrators to book” he said.
The workshop was attended by industry players, markets association leaders, maritime operators as well as representatives of relevant government agencies and the media.
A cross section of participants at the workshop


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