The Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim, has stated that its soon-to-be-launched ‘Product Authentication Mark’ (PAM) will reduce the influx of substandard imported goods into the country.
The Director General stated that PAM is specifically developed to checkmate imported goods into the country since imported goods account for over 80 per cent of substandard goods into the country
At a stakeholders’ sensitisation forum on PAM in Lagos recently, the SON boss added that the introduction of PAM is a declaration of war against substandard goods while also reaffirming the agency’s zero tolerance for substandard goods.
He however, urged local manufacturers to key into the initiative, pointing out that it is the only to increase consumers’ confidence while also increasing their profitability and market share.
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, said excluding local manufacturers from the initiative was to prevent any additional cost for manufacturers, saying that the nation’s manufacturing sector is already battling with substandard goods in the country and myriads of challenges hindering the sector’s productivity.
“The original target group are imported finished products. Local manufacturers are free to join voluntary because we do not want to increase to their cost of production,” he added.
“So in order for us to have peace, we decided not to involve the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), but they can join voluntarily. What we hope to do eventually is that if the manufacturer sees the benefit of PAM with importers, they will eventually join us because the programme is very useful for anyone producing authentic and standard goods, it helps to sell goods, it helps customers identify your products and this is good for business,” he stressed.
Salim said: “This particular mark is like a naira mark, but we are planning to use specialised machines, papers, security codes. Our inspectorate, 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. The mark is just an additional help to our customers and the public at large.”
He, however, advised dealers in substandard goods to desist in the act of shortchanging Nigerian with goods that have no economic value, saying that SON is always on top of its game to checkmate the activities of unscrupulous elements in the country.
“My advice to importers of substandard goods is that they should watch out as we are coming for them and we are not going to allow you destroy our economy, kill our people, destroy property. People should understand that dealers of substandard goods should be regarded as murderers.
They know the product is not good, they know it is substandard, but they still sell it. SON is the heart of Nigeria, we are the standard setters and we are taking our responsibilities seriously,” he averred.
He also said plans are underway to upgrade the SON Act, pointing out that the there is going to be a public hearing in the National Assembly with hopes that the bill is passed and signed by Mr. President or the new administration.
“We are working on it and we making sure we follow all the rules and the public is protected,” he assured.
Also speaking, the Director, Product Certification, SON, Engr. Onucheyo Enebi, said the introduction of PAM became necessary because the agency has been inundated with complaints from consumers over the influx of substandard goods into the country.
According to him: “We have come to realize that customers after buying products do not get value for their money, so this initiative will give the buyers opportunities to confirm the authenticity of the product before even paying for it.
“The mark has over 10 elements in it that it detects if a product is authentic or not, so the moment you scan with your QR code, all information about the product would be displayed. It will give you an instant response. 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 they scan a product and you realise that the product is substandard, please do not keep quiet, but raise an alarm so that the relevant agencies can carry out an enforcement exercise,” he advised.
Also speaking the president, MAN, Otunba Meshioye Francis represented by the Director, Corporate Services Division, Ambrose Oruche, said MAN has thrown its full weight behind the plans of Standards Organisation of Nigeria’s (SON’s) move to introduce Product Authentication Mark (PAM) in its bid to checkmate the influx of substandard goods into the country.
at a stakeholders sensitisation forum on PAM, said the move would help SON to checkmate the influx of fake and substandard products into the country, while also protecting local manufacturers from unfair competition.
He said the move is a welcome development especially at a time when most economies of the world are operating a borderless trade, stressing that with the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) on the cards, PAM would go a long way to help prevent Nigerian from being a dumping ground for inferior goods.
“We are delighted that local manufacturers have not been targeted with this scheme and this serves as a clear demonstration of SON’s confidence in local manufacturers, but we would key into any initiative that is aimed at protecting our members and Nigerians at large.