By Gboyega Oni
The Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Osita Aboloma has declared that Product Registration Certificate (PRC) has ceased to be part of requirements for cargo clearance from November 1, 2018 and any SON officer who requests for it should be reported to the Police.
Mr. Osita Aboloma noted that the elimination of PRC from cargo clearance would not only lead to reduction in cost but enhance speedy cargo clearance.
The SON boss, who made the declaration on Wednesday, October 31,, 2018 in Lagos at a one-day sensitization programme on the danger of substandard products for marketers at ASPAMDA International Market, said that the organisation would not compromise standards and charged product importers and marketers to collaborate with the SON in the fight against fake and substandard products.
He noted that the Act establishing the SON had been re-jigged with more power for the organisation to promote culture of quality assurance and apprehend people who flout the law, adding that some ASPAMDA marketers were being prosecuted for spreading faking products.
‘’We cannot allow you to continue to carry on with the business as usual thus endangering lives of Nigerians. We beg you to collaborate with us as we will no longer take ignorance for an excuse. Product Registration Certificate has been eliminated as one of the requirements for cargo clearance and any officer who requests for it from November 1, 2018 should be reported to the Police. It is designed to reduce cost of cargo clearance,’’ noted Aboloma while informing the importers that the lifespan of the Product Registration Certificate is one year.
Aboloma maintained that the SON could not stop foreigners from operating in the country as long as their actions are in line with the law of the nation but charged them, particularly the Chinese, to obey the product standards laid down by the authority.
Enlightening the importers on the operations of the organisation towards standardisation, Engineer Yahaya Kuka, Head of Ports and Borders of SON, noted that cargo clearance has been made simple with the introduction of electronic clearance by the SON management which allows importers in the comfort of their offices to fill their cargo clearance documents and pay the necessary charges.
He told the importers that there is a synergy between the SON, Customs and other government agencies in the ports as the organisation is connected to the Customs NISSI, stressing the containers were being flagged down because of false declaration, lack of SONCAP certificate, no country of origin etc. He added that there is a platform created by the Director General that allows him to monitor all offences being committed by importers and charged them to adhere to import guidelines.
Also speaking, Engineer Richard Adewumi, Head of Laboratory, told the participants that SON has over 30 laboratories that are well equipped with international equipment to test products. He charged the marketers to utilise the laboratories and ensure that their products meet the required standards.
In his presentation, Engineer Obiora Manafa, Director of Inspection and Compliance Directorate, said that importers would not have anything to do with the department if they adhere strictly to the standards laid down by the law. He noted that the essence of the sensitisation was to enlighten them on compliance.
Engineer Manafa told the importers that the Act establishing the SON empowers its officials to enter any warehouse or market to seize any substandard goods and therefore appealed to them to make genuine declaration their watchword.
Earlier in his address, the President of ASPAMDA International Market, Chief Offorkansi praised the intervention of SON in product standards and maintained that his members have been cooperating in ensuring standards since a committee was set up on standards.
He noted that there was need for members of the market to collaborate with the SON in the fight against substandard and fake products.