The director-general of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Farouk Salim has reaffirmed that the priority of the agency is to protect local industries and infant companies.
According to Salim, “we hold the interest of our local industries at heart. We are in the business to make sure that our industries survive and they need to be encouraged, protected and nourished,” as he lamented the uncooperative attitude of these industries.
He regretted that, each industry, has its own separate demand, saying, it makes them immediate relief that will not solve a long-term problem.
“We are planning to approach the National Assembly very soon to review SON Act. This is where serious industries matter because we want to work together and want your support as we go to the National Assembly. We also like to have a working relationship with different cadres of the industry through the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
“The industry should differentiate between ease of doing business and import waiver. The industries have to make it clear to regulatory agencies that they want the ease of doing business and not the ease of importing.
“Other climes did not survive by opening their borders to every import. SON is the only regulatory agency saddled with the responsibility of ensuring and regulating standards in the country, but we are supposed to be helped.
where in the world standards bodies are supported by industries.
“The Nigerian industries are sitting idle, while substandard goods and easy imports are destroying the local industry. We have been able to sanitise the lubricant industry in the past two years, but we still need the support of industries to totally eradicate the influx of substandard goods in the country,” he stressed.
He advised that industries should come together as a group, so that SON can see how to protect the local industries.
“Industries are going down and PZ is just one of the few that survived over the years. We at SON, are here to serve, we are here to work with the industry to make sure that people who are trying to destroy the industry are not only locked up and punished but are stopped.
“Our responsibility is to advertise Nigeria’s local industries and we are not ashamed to be your partners. In other climes, bans protect the local industries. The Nigerian industries should start looking in this direction. You have the capacity to produce the things we need. The industry must work together with us.
“Together we would lobby the National Assembly and if the National Assembly is convinced that PZ and other companies can produce all our requirements, they will ban the importation of products we have the comparative and competitive advantage of producing. Let us work together and map out a strategy that the regulatory agencies can work with to eradicate substandard goods into the country.” Salim stressed.
On his part, director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, PZ Cussons, Dom Ezeokana, stated that, the company imports Semi Knocked Down products, which are assembled in the Ilupeju factory. He said, the factory has 400 direct employees who assemble these products.
Lamenting on the ease of doing business, he said: “Ease of doing business is not easing, inflation is on the increase, loss of value, congratulation in the port and high cost of power generation is increasing the cost of production.”
Commenting on the yearly renewal of certification, he appealed to the SON DG to consider a 5-year window duration.