The Director-General of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim has called on Nigerians to embrace attitudinal change to ensure Nigeria attain the desired heights in all facets of life.
While pointing out that the challenges facing Nigeria has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, he enjoined Nigerians to shun acts that will bring the country to disrepute in their day-to-day activities.
He also noted that the ills plaguing Nigeria has nothing to do with the registered political parties, especially the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The SON helmsman argued that only a drastic change in the way and manner Nigerians do things in their little corner, particularly in the importation of goods into the country will make Nigeria to attain the desired changes we clamour for over the years.
Salim stated this recently in a keynote address he presented at one day maritime stakeholders’ sensitisation forum organized by the management of SON in Apapa, Lagos with the theme: “Standards Save Lives, Grow Economy.”
He argued that the importation of substandard goods is responsible for the high rate of insecurity in the country, even as he added that Nigeria cannot survive with the influx of substandard goods imported into the country.
While noting that substandard goods are killing the nation’s economy, he said when people bring in substandard or prohibited products even when such persons have $10 billion, there are criminals, bandits and cultists who may collect such products from them.
His words: “The reason for this gathering is to make sure that we try to sensitize each other in what we look out for. When we take any product as substandard, we are not here to spoil anybody’s products. We are doing it to protect your business and the people that buy the products.
“In other climes, when you buy a product and sell it to the public and the public get injured or they don’t get satisfaction with the product, the seller would get sued. When you get sued, you lose a lot of money. Sometimes, you may land in jail. In Nigeria, we have to develop to that level. We have the laws but we have not developed to the level where someone will go and buy substandard cable and sell it to Nigerians and get jailed for that.”
According to him, nobody tracks the sellers of such products or arrest such person and charge them with manslaughter or other crimes in the court of competent jurisdiction. That is why many Nigerians are taking the issue of substandard goods with impunity.
Salim enjoined Nigerians, especially stakeholders in the maritime sector of the economy to engage in genuine businesses by bringing quality products into the country.
He argued that if substandard goods continue to come into the country, the local manufacturers and industries would be destroyed thereby denying qualified Nigerians opportunities for gainful employment.
Giving insight into why the forum was organized by SON, Salim noted that the essence of the sensitizing the stakeholders in the maritime industry is to communicate and share views on how to make businesses thrive and grow the nation’s economy.
Meanwhile some stakeholders in the maritime industry have attributed the influx of substandard products into Nigeria to the absence of SON at the nation’s seaports.
While calling for the involvement of SON in the cargo clearance process, the stakeholders stated that sanity will return to the nation’s seaports once SON is return to the nation’s seaport.
Those who spoke include the President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Tochukwu Ezisi who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Rev. Emmanuel Agunbaze and the Vice President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto who argued that if the country must win the war against the importation of sub-standard goods, there is a need to return SON back to the seaports.
Delivering a paper titled “Juxtaposing Substandard Imports; SON’s Absence At Seaport,” Farinto averred that despite the fact that SON has vacated the ports about a few years ago, the increase in the imports of sub-standard goods and the effort of some nonconformists has shown that there is need to reverse the executive decision if the nation must win the war against the importation of sub-standard goods in the country.
He argued that the absence of SON as a regulatory agency in the ports encourages the importation and smuggling of sub-standard products.
His words: “If we must achieve ease of doing business, then freight forwarders, licensed customs brokers, should do away with dishonesty in their declarations in order to circumvent the procedures which impede ease of doing business”.
On his part, Ezisi enjoined the management of SON to engage stakeholders more in the delivery of its statutory mandate
According to him, stakeholders’ engagement will further ensure proper consideration of interests while commending SON for embracing the ease of doing business in the country.