Nigeria suffers influx of substandard products – SON

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) said Nigeria is not immune to influx of sub-standard goods like other countries across the globe as it’s affirmed it sustained activities to halt the nefarious acts.

SON Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Department, Pius Manji, explained that the influx of substandard goods is akin to corruption that can only be reduced to its barest minimum, but not eradicated.

He spoke in Lagos at a sentisation programme for stakeholders at a general sensitisation on PAM scheme in the state.

He said the cost of producing a sticker is astronomical due to its security features to guard against forgery, but stated that it has been subsidised to improve the services the agency renders to the public while also improving the lives of Nigerians through quality.

He noted that experience has shown that there are other routes through which people bring in goods to beat the system such as the SONCAP and MANCAP, so the PAM is more of a further check on all imported products. 

“Even if we deploy all the staff of SON to check for substandard goods it will still not be enough considering the size of Nigeria and the distribution change. So far 10 local companies and manufacturing companies have already keyed into it.

“With PAM like the word says, the customers have the right to authenticate the product and verify the conformity of that product prior to paying for the products. The PAM sticker has 21 security features on it which is where a lot of people are expressing concerns, is a security print that has been practised in Kenya, Egypt, Uganda for over 10 years.

“PAM would curb the influx of substandard products because once there are no markets for substandard goods, these unscrupulous individuals will not sell. This is basically giving the Nigerian consumers the power to fight the influx of substandard products in addition to other measures we have put in place,” he assured.

SON Director General, Dr. Ifeanyi Okeke, represented by the Director, Product Certification Department, Engr. Onuchenyo Enebi, explained that the programme was to increase awareness of the scheme, pointing out that the initiative was introduced by SON to enable consumers verify the authenticity of all SON-regulated products in the markets in its continuous efforts to curb the influx of substandard imported goods into the country. 

He lamented that imported goods account for over 80 per cent of substandard goods in the country, bemoaning that the nation’s manufacturing industry is already battling with the lingering effect that substandard goods have dealt on the economy and the myriads of challenges hindering the sector’s productivity. 

‘This scheme places the power to detect, reject and report substandard goods in our markets in the hands of the consumers by simply scanning a QR code with their smart phone or sending an SMS to 281 before they buy. It will no doubt better position us at SON to protect our fellow citizens and ensure that we all get value for our money,” he said.

“Despite the efforts of the organisation, substandard products are still being imported or manufactured and distributed in the country through the use of fake SON stickers on non-certified products amongst others. 

“To curb this disturbing occurrence in the country, the SON introduced the Product Authentication Mark (PAM) to facilitate the verification of the source and quality products in the Nigerian market. PAM is a digital technology to complement the SON Conformity Assessment Programmes (SONCAP and MANCAP) in furtherance of the fight against substandard and counterfeit products in Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, the PAM scheme will place Nigeria at an advantageous position at this time in history when Africa is looking to operate a borderless trade, with the actualisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), maintaining that PAM would go a long way to ensure that Nigeria is not a dumping ground for substandard/inferior goods.