Recently, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) destroyed goods worth more than N500million as a way of checking fake products into the country. According to the agency’s Head of Inspectorate and Compliance, Bede Obayi the goods were about 80 percent electricity cables in nine trucks seized from border stations and unapproved routes in the country. Justifying the action, Obayi said; “We need to destroy them completely as they pose dangers to life and ruin the nation’s economy”.
It is disheartening that despite the hazards associated with the distribution, purchase and use of substandard products, importers still engage in the illicit trade. Unfortunately, most of the products have expired well before but were still kept on the shelves for sale to unsuspecting consumers, even as some are wrongly labelled.
There is no denying the fact that the circulation of substandard in the country is a conspiracy between government officials and importers, who place orders for such low specifications just to make huge profits at the expense of the ordinary citizens.
We therefore call on the SON to impose stricter penalties on those countries exporting substandard goods into Nigeria, as they do not mean well for the economic development of the nation.
On its part, SON should put its two laboratories to use in order to ensure that any product that undergoes test in Nigeria will be accepted globally. Statistics have shown that more than 40 percent of the goods imported into the country are counterfeit. There is also no denying the fact that the flooding of Nigeria’s market with substandard products is killing the growth of local industries and creativity, even as it discourages investment. We are of the view that substandard and counterfeit products are antithetical to national economic development and the well being of the citizenry.
This explains the tough laws on the manufacturers of counterfeit or fake products and the stiff penalties imposed on them by some Asian and European countries. However, it is not enough to continue mulling over the importation of substandard goods into the country without putting in place policies to discourage the practice. We therefore call on the government to provide a favourable economic environment and other incentives that would promote and encourage local manufacturing of products that meet acceptable international standards.
To do so government must provide the enabling environment for job creation, to enhance people’s purchasing power, as this will help them to go for quality products, even when they are more expensive. The regulatory agencies such as SON, NAFDAC and CPC should be better funded for maximum performance, while the banks should become more proactive in offering long-term loans to local manufacturers to enable them purchase better equipment for the production of quality products. It is only with such measures that Nigeria could be rescued from her present substandard status in terms of consumer products. Substandard products have been implicated in many accidents in the country be it fire, road or collapsed buildings. They are therefore a danger to society, and should not be allowed to flourish.