A cross section of participants at the Stakeholders Forum on Substandard Products Menace.

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Balogun Business Association (BBA), Trade Fair Complex, Lagos have resolved to jointly combat the menace of substandard and life-endangering products in the market, in the collective interest of the Nation.

This resolution was part of the outcome of a stakeholders’ forum of SON, Importers, Dealers and the Balogun Business Association members hosted by the BBA in Lagos last week on the dangers of substandard and life-endangering products in circulation.

Addressing the gathering, Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Osita Aboloma Esq. stated that the responsibility for the presence of substandard products in Nigeria lies with Nigerians more than the foreign collaborators.

According to him, majority of importers of substandard goods into Nigeria, officials of regulatory agencies involved in clearance at the entry points as well as the distributors and retailers of the products are Nigerians, not foreign Nationals. “Thus, the solution to eradicating the presence of such life-endangering products from our markets lie with us as responsible and patriotic citizens of Nigeria”, he said.

“For us to win the battle against substandard and life-endangering products, we must agree to do the right things. If you set out from the outset to cheat Nigerians, it will be difficult for you to get it right; that is why we are here to preach that we all imbibe the culture of standardisation to do things the right way,” he added.

The SON Chief Executive disclosed that his agency has provided many incentives for Importers, Dealers and Traders who transact businesses in compliance to the minimum requirements of the Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS), in line with the Government’s focus on the Ease of doing business.

These according to him include; upgrade of the SON import-clearing portal and automation of many of its processes for reduced human contact and faster turn-around time.  Others are risk profiling of genuine importers for accelerated goods clearance and electronic registration of products for traceability.

Aboloma stated that the organisation would also protect genuine importers and dealers by blacklisting unscrupulous importers of substandard and life-endangering products, seizing and destroying their goods as well as prosecuting them in line with the SON Act No. 14 of 2015.

He urged the Balogun Business Association members to imbibe self-regulation through setting up a standards club to combat the presence of substandard products in the market and ensure greater patronage by Consumers, following a reputation of dealing in good quality products.

Responding, the President of BBA, Chief Alex Obi Igbokwe declared his Association’s preparedness to collaborate with SON to rid the market of substandard products, which according to him is affecting the market’s perception negatively.

He offered a furnished accommodation within the market for the establishment of a SON Market Desk to facilitate products registration, guide consumers on quality of products and receive complaints for redress.

Chief Igbokwe stated that the process for the setting up of a standards club within the market would commence immediately and expressed appreciation to the SON Chief Executive and Management for accepting the invitation to the market for a the sensitization programme.

He commended Mr. Aboloma for his committed efforts at drastically reducing the prevalence of substandard products in Nigerian Markets and promised that his association would continue to support SON to achieve the objective.

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