In a bid to boost the ease of doing business initiative and yield to the aspirations of importers for a swifter clearance process at the ports of entry, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has declared that product registration certificate would no longer be required as part of clearance documents for goods at the nation’s ports from the 1st November 2018.
This declaration was made by the Director-General SON, Osita Aboloma Esq. at an awareness and sensitisation programme held at the ASPAMDA Market, Trade Fair Complex Lagos yesterday.
The DG stated that in an effort to cut down on the turn-around time of clearing goods at the ports, SON will no longer ask importers to present evidence of the registration of product as was the case before now.
Aboloma, however, stated that importers will still need to register their products with SON but will not be required to present it at the point of clearance of goods. According to him, “apart from making clearance faster and less cumbersome, we also need to ensure that your imports are registered to protect your brands and also for traceability in line with international best practices”.
He enjoined members of the business community at the ASPMDA market to always do the right thing by dealing in products and goods that comply with standards. This according to him is achievable if they key into SON processes of offshore product certification (SONCAP) and Product registration, which have been upgraded into an electronic process that can be done online to limit human interface and eliminate delays.
The SON helmsman, also sought for greater commitment and collaboration from the importers and businessmen at the ASPMDA market on the deliberate and wilful importation of substandard goods into the country, as well as circumventing SON’s processes through fake certificates and false declarations at the port. These he stated, are acts that are not only inimical to the economy of the country but also life-threatening and destructive to the environment.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive President, ASPMDA, Chief D. C Offorkansi hailed the efforts of SON at making sure goods coming into the country are of Standard and also ensuring that the organisation’s processes are streamlined to boost business activities in the country.
He called on SON to do more in the area of safeguarding their businesses from unfair competition from foreign competitors, who according to him manufacture in there country but end up setting up shops in Nigeria thereby competing with those of them who are importers unfairly.
The Director-General in response clarified that Nigeria is a signatory to International free trade agreements, stressing that SON’s role is to ensure that all manufacturers within and importers into the country comply to standards and quality assurance as stipulated in the Nigerian Industrial standards and any other approved standards in the country.
The one-day sensitization and awareness program was organized as part of a nationwide programme to rid the nation of substandard products in circulation. It was designed to educate business people about SON processes like SONCAP, Product Registration, Laboratory (Testing) Services, Standards development, Ports and Borders as well as the Inspectorate and Compliance Operations among others.