…….As SON Warns Nigerians Against Made-in-China Goods, Says 80% Are Fake

The Standards Organization of ‎Nigeria (SON) has warned Nigerians to be careful of goods labelled 'made in China' which have flooded Nigerian markets, saying that 80% of such cargoes are fake and substandard.
The agency equally said that the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) being implemented by the Nigeria Shippers’ Council is an added value to‎ SON's operations.
Director General of SON, Dr. Ikem Odumodu stated this yesterday at a 'One-Day training tagged 'Trade Facilitation: SON e-certificate transactions‎ which the agency held for members of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at their secretariat in Lagos.
Odumodu who was represented at the event by Director of Inspection and Compliance of SON, Dr. Bede Obaya noted that 80 per cent of substandard goods in Nigeria emanate from Asian countries, especially China. 
He said that it is unfortunate that Nigeria has been made a dumping ground because most of the substandard goods are not consumed in China,‎ they are only exported. He said that China usually produce the best qualities for its own citizens unlike what she is exporting.
Odumodu however assured that the situation is being addressed by SON as the agency has started reviewing its SONCAP policy.
 
He said that the menace of fake goods from abroad could only be tackled if all government agencies at the port collaborate and work together.
"By the time we finished this project and all agencies at the ports are collaborating, it would become an easy thing to control"
"In the new SONCAP guideline, before a container leaves the port of loading, it must be sealed by one of the independent accredited firms that SON has appointed to do the offshore conformity assessment. When the firm seals such a container, it is the responsibility of a SON official in Nigeria to break such a seal, when there is variation it will be treated as academic sabotage" he said.
Odumodu said that all members of the Port Project Implementation Team are working together to make sure that what SON is doing is also relevant to the Nigeria Customs Service, FIRS, NAFDAC and the Nigerian Shippers Council.
He reiterated that the Cargo Tracking Note being implemented by the Nigerian Shippers Council is an added advantage to the process of cargo importation.
“If you know that you have already tracked your cargo, there is no way you can change the documents of the cargo when it comes in because it has been tracked at the point of shipment and this is exactly what we want because it tells us the particulars of the cargo and when you get here if there is any variation, we would know how it came about", he explained.
Odumodu said that the essence of the One-Day training is to equip members of the ANLCA on how to make use of the e-transactions recently introduced by SON. He said that this will improve the level of compliance at the port.
On his part, National President of ANLCA; Prince Olayiwola Shittu noted that e-transactions is the only way out of cumbersome procedures of clearing cargoes at Nigerian ports.
Shittu said "once you are knowledgeable in e-transaction, it makes your job easier. We are looking for an Eldorado period where you don't have to leave your desk before you can clear cargo in the port"
"The training today is for us to know how to use the new platform that SON has introduced in order for us to get SONCAP, e-transaction and so on‎, it is a continuous training session."
"In the maritime industry today, licensed customs agents are one of the most educated‎, in the sense that the license customs agent of old do not bother about training, but since 2010 since we came into office, training has been one of our major focus"
The ANLCA President said that e-transaction is done in other parts of the world and that human interface at Nigerian ports is only created by the corrupt government agencies inside the port‎.
Reacting to the importation of substandard goods into Nigeria, he said, "Nigerian importers are desperate, they care more about their profit‎ than the adverse effect of substandard goods, they are ready to boycott the SON at the port and rather go through smuggling at borders"
 
He absolved clearing agents from the smuggling of substandard goods, saying that it is difficult for licensed agents to collude with importers‎ to import fake goods.
Rather, he said "we are victims, we don't travel with the importer, and it is the document he gives us that we use for declaration, you can't hold us responsible, you can only collaborate with the government agencies." he said.