By Onozure Dania
The Consumer Protection Council is to partner with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to stem the production and distribution of substandard goods in the country.
Mrs. Dupe Atoki, Director General of the CPC, who disclosed this in Lagos, also lamented the paucity of funds and inadequate personnel, saying this is hindering it from effectively discharging its duties.
According to her, the task before the CPC is a huge one that needs a lot of financial support and staff re-training, in order to effectively protect the rights of consumers in Nigeria.
She said it will be difficult to effectively carry out its function with the resources on ground, adding that it will devise means of boosting up its finances.
She, however, cautioned that the government will never be able to fully support all of its programmes, urging its various officers to think out of the box and find ways of soliciting for support in legitimate ways.
“What is on ground cannot even match an iota of the advocacy drive that we need to do. But then, you must dream because without it, you are dead. So that is my dream, that I will be able to give a more expansive advocacy and awareness to Nigerians and I hope that I will get support from all and sundry in that wise,” she said
She noted that the planned partnership with SON, NCS and NAFDAC will help to reduce the influx of substandard goods to a level that would pave the way for the local manufacturing companies to begin to thrive.
She said, “We must understand the various agencies that have the mandate to tackle counterfeit products, notwithstanding that the mandate of the council is to receive complaints but in the course of the mandate, we are also expected to weed out counterfeit goods and ensure that substandard or hazardous goods are taken off the shelf where it is necessary.
“But it does not stop there. There are organs and agencies that are designated to ensure that standards are met and also to enforce those standards. We have to work in collaboration with all these organs and including the Nigerian Customs, with the SON, with NAFDAC and all other regulatory bodies. We can see the possibilities of reducing the influx of substandard and inferior goods to a level in which the indigenous manufacturing companies will begin to thrive.
“Right now, indigenous companies are stifled. They are in great competition with substandard goods that are cheap and easily available and therefore there is need for a competitive and fair level playing ground for all investment .We would have to deal with the near collapse of indigenous manufacturing companies in such a manner that would help them survive and keep them in operation.”