The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has introduced a digital technology to complement its Conformity Assessment Programme in furtherance of the fight against substandard and counterfeit products in Nigeria. The technology solution known as Product Authentication Mark (PAM) facilitates the verification of the source and quality of products in the Nigerian market.
Speaking at a Stakeholders’ Sensitization Programme on PAM, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Director-General and Chief Executive, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk A. Salim, FPSN, stated that, the scheme places the power to detect, reject and report substandard goods in our markets in the hands of the consumers, by simply scanning a QR code with their smart phone or sending an SMS to 281.
According to him, ‘’PAM is one of the initiatives of the Organization to enable consumers verify the authenticity of all SON-regulated products in the markets to address the challenges posed by the presence of sub-standard products in Nigeria. PAM is a digital technology to complement the SON Conformity Assessment Programmes (SONCAP and MANCAP) in furtherance of the fight against substandard and counterfeit Products in Nigeria”.
The Chief Executive, added that, in line with its mandate, the Organization over the years has substantially reduced the importation, manufacturing and distribution of substandard products in the country through its Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) schemes.
He listed the benefits of PAM to include; the protection of genuine manufacturers and importers from the faking and counterfeiting of their certified products; promotion of a level playing field in the market for both locally manufactured and imported products certified by SON; provision of assurance to consumers on products and guarantee value for money, and assurance of effective removal of non-complying products in the markets, amongst others.
The SON helmsman further stated, that despite the efforts of the Organization, substandard products are still being imported and distributed in the country through smuggling, and in some cases through the use of fake SON stickers on non-certified product.
He reiterated that, SON in the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has the mandate to set standards and to prosecute defaulters. He charged importers and manufacturers to adhere to the regulation provided by SON and urged consumers to report to SON through writing, telephone calls and personal visits, any issues on substandard products.
Mallam Salim, also commended the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), the Honourable Minister, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, the Honourable Minister of State, Ambassador Mariam Y. Katagum and the entire Management of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for their immense support in the actualization of the scheme. ‘’
The Director, Product Certification Department (PCD), Mr. Tersoo Orngudwem, in his presentation explained that PAM has come to stay to curb the unrelenting effort of counterfeiters and perpetrators of substandard good in Nigeria despite seizures, destruction and even prosecution by SON.
Mr. Orngudwem, stressed that the need for SON to adequately monitor and control its Conformity Assessment Programmes such as SONCAP and MANCAP cannot be overemphasized.
‘’PAM is the harmonization of all SON Conformity Assessment Programmes (MANCAP, SONCAP) to make it easy for the consumers to verify the quality of SON regulated goods, at the Point of Sale before purchasing. SON will implement PAM in partnership with MSP Technologies Nigeria Limited. Product Authentication is not indigenous to Nigeria (SON),it is currently being implemented in other African nations seeking similar feats: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda, all with similar economic challenges.’’
He enumerated the multiple benefits of PAM to the Nigeria economy and consumers stating that the scheme will increase productivity, boost job creation thereby leading to security improvement.
The President of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), Sir Mike Elechi, and the Chairman Manufacturers Association Rivers/Bayelsa, Mr. Vincent Okuku, delivered goodwill messages on-behalf of their respective organizations.
The event had in attendance representatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Nigeria Immigrations Service (NIS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Importers, Captains of Industries, Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), International Airport, Oil and Gas, Operating Agents at the Ports, Association of Supermarket Owners, amongst others.