The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has caught inferior aluminium roofing sheets meriting over N200 million from several aluminium organisations in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
Guidance newsmen on the capture, SON Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Engr. Obiora Manafa revealed that the seizure followed the message obtained from Stakeholders and weeks of inspection and monitoring.
Manafa declared that the aluminium roofing sheets were found to be of lower gauge than the 0.4mm prescribed in the Nigeria Industrial Standards NIS 488 for Aluminium roofing sheets.
According to him, all aluminium roofing sheets of between 0.25mm to 0.37mm found in the premises of the companies were evacuated to prevent them from entering the market while others that meet the standard specification were untouched.
“They were brought into the country from China without passing through the SON offshore Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) to ascertain the quality before shipment”, he said.
Manafa stated further that the aluminium roofing sheets were smuggled in without SON quality verification necessitating the need to track them to three different company premises in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State. This was facilitated by classified information provided by concerned Stakeholders, he said.
“There are a lot of negative consequences having such aluminium roofing sheets in the Nigerian markets. Government is denied legitimate revenue, Consumers do not get value for money, plus the unfair competition with certified made-in-Nigeria aluminium roofing sheets through low pricing. This unfair competition leads to low capacity utilization by the local manufacturers, loss of jobs by Nigerians and a general downturn in the Nation’s economy”, Manafa stated.
The SON Director disclosed that a joint Task Force was recently constituted between SON and the Galvanised Steel Manufacturers Association (GISMA) with a Manufacturers Association of Nigeria personnel as Secretary to share information towards apprehending low gauge, substandard aluminium and galvanised steel roofing sheets in all parts of the country.
He stated that in carrying out the exercise, the SON Enforcement team will comb all nooks and crannies where substandard aluminium and galvanised steel roofing sheets may be kept.
According to him, the Nigeria Industrial Standard prescribes 0.15mm minimum thickness for galvanised steel roofing sheets and anyone found below the gauge will be seized and the purveyors prosecuted
Manafa emphasised that the aim was to discourage the importation of substandard products into the country and to save the hard-earned resources of Nigerians.
On what penalties would be meted to the companies, Manafa stated that they were given a benefit of doubt, cautioned and fined since standard gauge aluminium roofing sheets were also found in their premises.
The SON director lamented the challenge involved in chasing suspected substandard and life-endangering products around the country, pointing out that the surest point to apprehend them is at the Nation’s entry points where the agency is neither present nor have the opportunity to carry out quality verification of all SON regulated products.
Manafa advised would-be buyers of aluminium and galvanised steel roofing sheets to either go with qualified engineers to buy the products or go with the required measuring instrument to verify the standard thickness of the roofing sheets they intend to buy.
He also urged Consumers of roofing sheets to consult any of the SON State offices for guidance in making purchase decisions.