AfCFTA: MAN calls for verification of all imported goods by SON

Alhaji Madugu (4th from right), SON DG Salim (5th from right)and other executive members of MAN.

Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has emphasized the need for quality verification of all imported products including those from West African countries by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), even with the rule of origin in the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme. 

The manufacturers said the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has further underscored the need for the SON’s presence at the entry points to prevent Nigeria from being turned into a dumping ground of substandard, fake, and counterfeited products from other African countries. 

The National Vice President of MAN, North West Zone, Alhaji Ali Madugu stated this in Kano during a recent visit working by the Director-General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, Kano State. 

Madugu acknowledged the need for product authentication as an additional tool to fight faking, adulteration and unfair competition with substandard products in the market and urged SON to look at the best way to implement it without putting genuine manufacturers at disadvantage in terms of cost and the procedure for compliance.

Commending Mallam Salim’s approach to addressing the concerns of about 140-member strong, North West branch of MAN, Madugu called on the SON boss to decentralize SON testing facilities through the building of additional laboratories across the country, including Kano, easier processing of import documents without necessarily visiting SON Headquarters in Abuja and greater protection of local manufacturers’ MANCAP certified products from adulteration and faking of their brands in Nigeria and overseas as well as unfair competition with substandard imports. 

He called for an upgrade and enlightenment of members on the SON Offshore Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) portal, as well as the inspection procedure, sampling and testing relating to the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) for locally manufactured products.

Mallam Farouk Salim responded that SON was set up to provide technical assistance and support to genuine local manufacturers as well as protect them from unfair competition from substandard products.  He acknowledged their sacrifices through investment in infrastructure, creation of job opportunities and regular payment of taxes and assured them of his commitment and support.

“We need to partner with MAN to protect genuine manufacturers and legitimate importers by sharing intelligence to apprehend and prosecute standards infractions. With adequate consequences for actions, most people will follow the rules”, he said.

He decried the current situation where SON is unable to neither carry out quality verification of all its regulated imported products at the points of entry nor accost suspected substandard products outside the ports.

Mallam Salim stated that efficient service delivery remains his focus and invited MAN to pull forces together with SON for collective success in the interest of the Nation’s economy and the wellbeing of its people.

The SON Chief Executive asked the MAN and other stakeholders to look forward to seamless and robust deployment of information communication technology to enhance the agency’s delivery of efficient services and an appreciable reduction in turnaround time for standards development, product certification and registration amongst others. 

He invited MAN members to work with SON to further protect their brands through the deployment of a product authentication scheme to empower Consumers at the point of purchase.

“We need a symbiotic relationship to succeed without loss of business and relevance. While I call for genuine partnership with MAN and other Stakeholders, SON would not back down from implementing the law by diligent prosecution of standards infractions,” he concluded.

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