The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has partnered the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to curb the menace of sub-standard goods importation into the country.

The SON’s Director General, Osita Aboloma, described the ANLCA as one of its strongest allies in its renewed efforts to reduce the influx of substandard goods to the barest minimum, adding that the organization will strengthen its engagements with operators in the maritime industry through sensitisation programmes.

Aboloma, who disclosed the partnership with ANCLA at a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, promised that the agency would also be creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive while also protecting the lives of the unsuspecting consumers.

Specifically, he hinted that the organization was working to fully automate its processes to reduce the level of human interface, stressing that this would help to eradicate the use of touts to access its services while also ensuring seamless port operations nationwide.

He said: “We are appealing to the operators in this industry to be forth coming in their declaration of goods so that they do not take advantage of the lacuna involved in the clearing processes. They have agreed to work with us in all sincerity while also keying into our processes to create an enabling environment for operators.

“We are trying to fully automate our processes to make it seamless, this would help to tackle some of the corrupt practices operators experience at the ports. When you automate, you have less human interface, there will be no more need to patronise touts for accessing our services.

“The fight against substandard goods starts from beyond the shores of Nigeria and that is why we have put SONCAP in place to verify the quality of products coming in.

“We still have to follow products that we suspect are substandard and even in the markets. Importers must insist on doing the right thing and imbibe the culture of standardisation and quality assurance so that people will have confidence in their products or services”, the SON boss added.

In his remarks at the meeting, the National Vice president, ANLCA, Kayode Farinto, commended the SON for its efforts to curb substandard goods importation, promising the association’s commitment to joining hands with the agency in the fight against fake goods importation into the country.

He explained: “We stated the challenges that we face in the course of carrying out operations at the ports, but the Director General is very proactive where most of their processes are automated and it had so far helped us to achieve seamless operations at the ports.

The onus now lies with us to sensitise importers on the negative effect of dealing with substandard goods on the economy. We are also going to work with SON to ensure that any good that does not conform to international best practices, we will make sure that we discourage our members from clearing them at the port.

“Honestly we are impressed with the level of work done by the agency especially in the area of automation of their processes. Our members have been able to enjoy seamless operations at the ports”, Farinto added.