Stakeholders Harp on Standards to Harness Nigeria-China Trade Relations

A cross section of participants at the seminar.

Stakeholders in the manufacturing and importation sectors in Nigeria have been advised to ensure that their products meet the regulatory standards set up by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

This was the thrust of discussions at a seminar jointly organised by the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China and SON, in Lagos during the week.

Addressing participants, the Consul-General of China, Chao Xiaoliang, stated that the seminar was occasioned by the continuous production and importation of substandard goods into the country which has caused more havoc for citizens.

The Republic of China according to him is collaborating with SON to ensure that products imported into the country from China are guided by safety measures. Mr. Xiaoliang said, “China-Nigeria Strategic Partnership has enjoyed great progress in recent years.

The bilateral, political and mutual trust has been increasingly enforced while economic and trade exchanges have been consistently deepened”

He enumerated thus, “In 2017, the total China-Nigeria bilateral trade volume reached $13.78 billion, a 29.7 per cent increase. Of this figure, import of China from Nigeria reached $1.62 billion a 79.1 per cent increase over 2016.”

The Consul-General added that Nigeria continued to be the second biggest export market and the third biggest trade partner of China in Africa.

He however alluded to challenges in the China-Nigeria economic and trade cooperation due to non-adherence to quality requirements and regulations by some companies. These, he said negatively affect bilateral economic and trade cooperation to some extent.

In his address, SON Director-General Mr. Osita Aboloma, represented by the Regional Coordinator, South-West, Mrs. Nike Owoyele stated that the seminar afforded participants the opportunity to be educated on SON mandate and activities as well as the relevance of maintaining internal quality assurance culture by organizations

“We not only monitor but ensure manufacturers build the culture of internal quality assurance. We are for the growth of industries by engaging in periodic investigatory visits across the country to check the activities of  industries as well as ensure compliance of imported goods with relevant Nigeria Industrial Standards”, she said.

Mrs. Owoyele added that creating awareness for manufacturers and importers was a sure way of avoiding waste and avoidable losses in their economic activities. “What is the essence of bringing in or manufacturing goods that will seized and destroyed for noncompliance”, she said.

While admitting that some of the stakeholders particularly those involved in importation might be ignorant, she was emphatic that some are fraudulent and deliberately circumvent laid down regulations.

SON according to her, is empowered by law to deal decisively with such unscrupulous purveyors of substandard products and their collaborators.

She commended the Chinese Consulate for the desire to straighten trade ties with Nigeria, which, which according to her is a welcome development.

SON Coordinator, Surveillance, Investigation and Monitoring (SIM) Mr. Isa Suleiman enumerated the agency’s mandate as including to designate, establish, approve and declare standards for materials, commodities, structures, processes and services with the power to enforce the standards as well as ensure quality assurance of products and services.

Other SON products and services like Management Systems Training, Laboratory Services, Equipment calibration and Management Systems Certification Services among others were highlighted.

He educated the participants on the mandatory SON Conformity Assessment programs for local manufacture, (MANCAP) and the offshore counterpart (SONCAP) for imports, stressing that the agency recently strengthened its enforcement capabilities nationwide through the inauguration of the SIM Unit.

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