The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has backed the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to introduce Product Authentication Mark (PAM) that will control the influx of substandard goods into the country.
MAN President, Chief Francis Meshioye, stated this at a stakeholders sensitisation forum on PAM on Thursday in Lagos.
Meshioye, represented by the Director, Corporate Services Division, MAN, Mr Ambrose Oruche, said the move, asides checkmating the influx of fake products, would protect local manufacturers from unfair competition.
According to him, the move is a welcome development, especially as most economies of the world are operating border-less trade.
Meshioye added that the development was also critical in the face of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to prevent Nigeria from being a dumping ground for inferior goods.
“We are delighted that this scheme serves as a clear demonstration of SON’s confidence in local manufacturers and we would key into any initiative that is aimed at protecting our members and Nigerians at large,” he said.
Director General, SON, Malam Farouk Salim, said local manufacturers were excluded from the initiative to prevent additional cost for them.
He stated that the target of the initiative are imported finished products, while local manufacturers are free to join voluntary.
“What we hope to do eventually is that if the manufacturer and importer see the benefits of PAM, they will eventually join us because the programme is very useful for anyone producing authentic and standard goods.
“This particular mark is like a naira mark, but we are planning to use specialised machines, papers and security codes.
“Our inspectorate and compliance department are always there and with the help of our customers, anybody breaking the rules would be prosecuted, their goods would be seized and the court will give us permission to destroy those goods,” he said.
Salim, however, warned dealers of substandard goods to desist from the act of short-changing Nigerian with goods that have no economic value.
He reiterated the commitment of SON to continue to checkmate the activities of unscrupulous elements in the country.
The director-general revealed that plans were underway to upgrade the SON Act.
With a public hearing at the National Assembly, he said prayed the bill is passed and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari or the incoming administration.
“We are working on it and we would make sure we follow all the rules and the public is protected,” he said.
The Director, Product Certification, SON, Mr Onucheyo Enebi, said the introduction of PAM became necessary because the agency had been inundated with complaints from consumers over the influx of substandard goods into the country.
He said the substandard products meant customers do not get value for their money, but noted that PAM would provide the opportunity to confirm the authenticity of the products before paying for it.
Enebi revealed that the mark had over 10 elements to detect authenticity upon scanning the QR code.
“All you have to do is send an SMS to 281 or scan the QR code with your Android or IOS phone and you will get an instant response.
“I want to encourage Nigerians that whenever you scan a product and you realise that the product is substandard, please do not keep quiet.
“We want you to raise an alarm, so that the relevant agencies can carry out an enforcement exercise,” he said.