The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has indicated its readiness to offer rewards to genuine importers who transact businesses in compliance to the minimum requirements of the Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS) and the current Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) policy of government.

The Director General, SON, Mr Osita Aboloma, who gave this assurance at a nationwide awareness programme on dangers of substandard products in circulation at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, said that the agency would incentivise genuine importers by way of registration, port charges reduction and timely clearance of their containers.

He explained: “If you are a genuine importer and you consistently do the right thing, we will reduce your processes, by extension, we have been able to assess your risk, your clearance and registration of the goods you are bringing in will come in easier and faster and at the same time, the unscrupulous importers would be blacklisted.

“It is my belief that this would make unscrupulous importers desist from the illicit trade of substandard goods. We do risk profiling for the importers that get it right.

“We encourage them and we have automated our processes to make it easier for them and those that defaults, we will blacklist them by sending their names to China so that they do not work with them to import fake and substandard products into the country, so it is a mere use of carrot and stick approach to fight against substandard products”, SON boss added.

Speaking at the event, the President, Balogun Business Association (BBA), Alex Obi Igbokwe, said the association would set up a standard club with a view to detecting and curbing the activities of unscrupulous businessmen in the market.

Igbokwe said that the initiative this would go a long way to curb the influx of fake and substandard products into the country.

He expatiated: “As it affects the economy, it also affects us too, because most of our customers are running away as a result of purchasing substandard goods. If they buy goods that do not meet their needs, they will not come back to buy another time, so for that reason there is need for us to sit up. The standard club will also help to curtail the activities of these so-called unscrupulous importers.

“We are going back to spread this message to our members, because they must get to know about this fight against substandard products. I believe that our people need orientation and sensitisation especially the businessmen and importers. I believe together we will achieve a lot of success in our markets.

“We want to them to know that if they certify and register their products, they will not be affected by the wrath of the law. We are coming against the perpetrators of substandard goods with all the laws available to us as an agency. It is no longer going to be business as usual. It is either you close your shops, move away from our markets or you have us to contend with”, Igbokwe stressed.

He noted that SON decided to partner with the association because it was the biggest single market in West African region, pointing out that the association is the best and the most reasonable place to start our fight against substandard goods.

The nationwide awareness programme also featured SON Directors educating participants through some of the agency’s core activities which include product registration, standards development, compliance, laboratory services, and ports and border operations, amongst others.