The National Assembly(NASS) has insisted on the return of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to the ports to checkmate substandard goods coming into the country.
They also noted that the continuous absence of SON at the ports since 2011 has paved way for substandard and prohibited goods to freely enter the country, maintaining that the absence of SON at the nation’s ports is the reason why Nigeria is still a destination for substandard goods.
The chairman, house of representatives committee on Industry, Trade and Investment, Dolapo Badru, at an oversight visit to SON’s laboratory in Lagos yesterday, said the members are resolute about ensuring that the identified challenges are resolved soonest in order to expedite the return of SON to the ports.
He lamented that the continued absence of SON officials who legally and professionally are more disposed to conducting test and physical examination of goods imported into the country has caused havoc to the economy and the loss of lives of innocent Nigerians who use such poor-quality products.
According to him, “We are very resolute in our efforts to make sure that issues hindering the agency’s operations are addressed because day in day out, we record lots of deaths from substandard products where several thousands of unreported cases of avoidable deaths happen and it is unthinkable that substandard iron rods, tyres, gas cylinders, generators and so many other things are being imported into the country and yet SON is being prevented from operating at the ports.”
He reaffirmed the Senate’s commitment to returning the standards body to the ports, assuring SON of the leadership of National Assembly’s involvement.
Earlier, the director-general, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, urged the Senate to support SON’s quest to establish more laboratories in the country, stressing that the agency is inundated with so many goods to certify, monitor and test.
He added that the oversight function cannot be overemphasised at a time when the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is in full force, stating that, the need to develop the nation’s testing capacity to address unscrupulous elements who would want to use the trade pact to make Nigeria a dumping ground.
“Presently, our industries are at a disadvantaged position because they cannot export as we do not have enough capacity to test, monitor and certify local products, we need even more capacity to make sure that we train the small-scale industries in the country.
“In that light, we have signed lots of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with several governors and ministries in various states to help SMEs package, label and manufacture their products and certified for export.
more and we have lots of responsibilities but little tools to work with. We still need more to do even more,” he said.
The SON boss said it is taking the gospel of standardisation to every part of the country, adding that most of the governors that the agency has been privileged to meet, welcome the idea, restating their commitment to working with SON by way of providing land for the establishment of state offices and laboratories.