By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA- THE Senate was yesterday told that Nigeria as a country loses in the excess of N1 trillion yearly to substandard products that enter into the country, just as the average Nigerian importers were described as killers and unscrupulous.
The National Assembly was also told that 85 percent of imports that enter the country through the porous and expansive borders were fake and sub standard.
Speaking yesterday when he appeared before the Senator Esther Usman Nenadi led Joint National Assembly Committee on Trade, Investment, Commerce and Industry, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Standard Organizations of Nigeria, SON, Mr Joseph Odumodu, stressed that the situation with fake and sub standards products have become terrible in the country that everywhere one goes and whatever one touches was a sub standard product.
Meanwhile, Senator Nenadi has urged SON to purchase and install first class laboratory equipment to enable it test and detect substandard products that were being imported into the country, adding that the agency could source money from the Bank of Industry, BOI to realize this.
Senator Nenadi who decried the activities of smugglers as counterproductive, said that law makers will work harder to update the country’s legal apparatus that would lead to the reduction of smuggling activities across the country’s boarders.
She said, “Since you are facing problems in the course of carrying out your constitutional mandate, I advise that you apply for loan from the Bank of Industry to buy laboratory equipment. Here people will be paying for their goods to be tested. I think this is the best way since government is not doing anything about it there.’’
Speaking further, Odumodu Odumodu who explained that a survey conducted last year revealed that besides the health implication of fake products, the country was losing millions of jobs annually due to these smuggled goods.
According to him, these were very common in areas like electrical materials, cable wires and electrical bulbs, adding, “An average standard bulb is supposed to last 1000 hours, but the situation in the country is that the bulbs hardly last up to a month.”
The SON boss who noted that the problem of substandard products in the country has taken a dimension as over 50 million sub-standard tyres were in circulation, just as as he explained that such tyres, not necessarily used ones (popularly called tokunbo), caused 20 per cent of road accidents across the country.
According to him, over 200 lives in the last five years were lost to building collapses in several parts of the country due to the use of sub-standard building materials, adding that over 80 per cent of the sub-standard products have their sources from mainly Asia nations and were in Nigerian market up till last early last year, just as he said that buying the right bulbs would have saved the country about N500m annually.