SON tasks operators to adopt revised quality markers

Osita Aboloma

•Issues 90 days ultimatum for adoption
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has given manufacturers and importers a 90-day grace period to adapt its Product Authentication Mark (PAM), as part of quality assurance measures and move to check cloning and product counterfeiting across the country.

The Director-General, SON, Osita Aboloma, added that the scheme is not a new technology in Nigeria, stating that it has upgraded the process to ensure the programme delivers on its key objectives of ensuring product authenticity and quality assurance.

The SON boss said the introduction of PAM is another strategy the agency has devised to address the incidence of substandard products in the country.

‘‘PAM is the latest innovation by SON to address the reduction of substandard products in the country by affixing hologram stickers with security features on products certified for sale in Nigeria. This is another layer of standardization and quality control to ensure that the manufacturing and supply chains are in line with international best practices,’’ he said.

Aboloma speaking during SON’s public enlightenment on PAM said: ‘‘It is going to come at some cost, but the truth is that nothing good comes without a cost. We are going to agree on the cost so that we do not pass the burden to the end-users. This is because at the end of the day, it is the customers that will be greatly affected. If you weigh the cost and the benefits derived from PAM, you will see that the long-term benefit outweighs the present cost. Once you are sure of what you are buying, cost becomes secondary. We want to put the safety of consumers first before the legal financial implication.

‘‘We have set up an advisory committee to be abreast of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) requirements. SON as a regulatory agency in collaboration with our sister agencies has agreed to comply with international best practices of 90 days notice. What we are trying to do is to fine-tune the process with stakeholders.’’

The Director General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera, lauded the initiative, saying that any programme aimed at ensuring the safety of consumers is a welcome development, pointing out that the biggest challenge facing Nigerian consumers today is the preponderance of fake and counterfeited products with no economic value.

The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, commended SON for the introduction of PAM, restating the association’s resolve to support the scheme in the interest of local manufacturers.

According to him, PAM will go a long way to improve the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products while also reducing the incidence of smuggling and counterfeiting of goods in the country.

‘The event has given our members to interact with SON and truly understand what the initiative is all about. We support the initiative, but believe that the cost might be on the high side and that is why we have decided to set up a committee which will consists of people from MAN, SON and other members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS). The committee is expected to come up with a position that will be acceptable not only to the government, but also to the operators. We all know that the cost of production in this country is high and the manufacturing sector is plagued with myriads of challenges but we understand the importance of PAM, so we are going to work with SON to find a common ground that will be acceptable to SON and manufacturers and at the end of the day we hope that the cost will be reduced.’’ he said.

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