The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has taken the battle against fake and substandard goods to the telecom sector. It raided Computer Village Ikeja Lagos and sealed several companies dealing with substandard telephones. The director of enforcement, Mr, Louis Njoku, speaks on the activities of SON.
Your officers recently raided Computer Village Ikeja and sealed many companies, what informed such action?
To start with, SON is vested with the duty of preparing standards for products and relevant processes to ensure acceptable standards and quality conformity on goods manufacturers locally and those imported into the country. Also, the zero tolerance is a continuous process.
Before we embarked on that operation, we carried out a market survey on the quality of GSM phones coming into the market. We informed the dealers repeatedly on the need to import quality products into the country. We met with their union and agreed to have a desk in the market like what is done in Alaba International in order to enable us check the standard of phones. But the dealers are not complying with the necessary standards.
The marketers were very violent and even tried to prevent SON’s officials from sealing their shops. Are there sanctions for such action?
Their reaction was the usual way market people do and we are going to take appropriate steps. The reality is that, such cannot prevent us from fishing out those dealing with substandard phones to make them comply with acceptable standards, if they must continue in our economic environment.
We must remove killer-products from our markets to protect lives. For instance, substandard cable is capable of causing fire outbreak at the slightest mistake because it has low fire resistance capacity. Stabilizer is another product posing serious challenge to SON in checking standards because of false declaration.
For example, a lot of manufacturers label 100 volt, but when the current is on, it shows low voltage. Some importers resisting SONCAP certification are trying to kill and run down the economy for selfish interests. Some people even import substandard tyres that are capable of killing people on the highways.
We are moving towards checking the quality of lubricants in the country. This is because some individuals
are now selling adulterated base oil instead of quality lubricants for car.
The director general of SON gave steel manufacturers 60 days to do away with substandard re-enforcement bars. What measures are you putting in place to monitor compliance?
We are already working on that. For instance, SON is giving identification marks to local producers of steel for easy traceability of substandard steel products. Also, for imported products, the importers must register within 60 days.
After 60 days, our enforcement team will be compelled to seal the premises of those not complying with the standards, until they prove that they have the capacity to manufacture products that meets NIS 117 acceptable standards.
Standardisation of the steel sub-sector would help the economy in terms of increase in production capacity. It would also give the operators ample opportunity to explore the markets within the ECOWAS sub-region for business expansion.
Tell us about the activities of SON under the new management?
SON under the new management is working in line with the policy of the Federal Government to enhance jobs and wealth creation for economic growth and development. The agency has mapped out various strategies to remove fake and substandard products from the economic environment, while at the same time looking inward to encourage the growth of the manufacturing sector.
Our investigations revealed that SON destroyed over 100 containers of fake and substandard goods estimated at over N2.5billion in their operations in 2009. In the same vein, the agency also destroyed 30 containers of substandard products with the total monetary value of over N300million in the first quarters of 2010, in a bid to stem the tide in importation of fake and substandard goods in the country.