By UDEME CLEMENT
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has called on commercial banks to be strict and display vigilance on the procedures for the implementation of its off-shore conformity assessment programme, also known as SONCAP, to prevent unscrupulous elements from issuing fake certificates to companies.
The director general of SON, Dr. John Akanya, gave this warning following the discovery of SONCAP certificate forgery.
Akanya, who condemned certificate forgery, stressed that such criminal act is disservice to the nation’s economy. He called on programme managers, importers and banks as financial institutions playing a vital role in economic development to be alert in curbing the menace of SONCAP certificate forgery.
He said, “SON has been working tirelessly to ensure accepted standards of products in the country. For instance, such initiative informed the introduction of on-line products certificate validation by the agency and the accessibility of this validated certificate by commercial banks and the customs to protect local manufacturers from unhealthy competition.
As such, the introduction of SONCAP was informed by observed shortcomings in the implementation of the programme particularly efforts by some unscrupulous importers and their agents to forge product and SONCAP Certificates. The accessibility by the key organisations involved in the implementation of the programme is to make forgery of the certificates impossible.”
Explaining the importance of off-shore conformity in products importation he said, “off-shore assessment of SON’s regulated products intended for importation into Nigerian market became necessary to verify conformance with Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) and approved international standards, which implies issuing certification of compliant products and each individual shipment to ensure acceptable standards”.
Vanguard gathered that SON has suspended all products and SONCAP certificates issued under its off-shore conformity assessment programme telling importers issued with the imports clearance certificates to bring them forward for revalidation within 14 days.