SON to tighten noose on substandard goods’ importers
Re-opens electronic portal to ease cargo clearing
Worried by the high prevalence of imported substandard goods in the country despite surveillance and enforcement activities, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has unfolded plans to review its strategy in tackling the influx of such goods.
With the Federal Government seeking to encourage local manufacturing through backward integration initiatives, the agency noted that maritime stakeholders who are major drivers of trade facilitation need to partner with government in addressing the scourge of substandard goods.
To this end, SON disclosed that its Electronic Provisional Clearance Certificate (EPCC) portal closed as a result of importers abusing the platform to import fake and substandard goods into country will be reopened for effective use from April 25, 2016 to July 24, 2016.
The Acting Director-General, SON, Dr. Paul Angya, explained that the move by the agency is to give opportunities to genuine importers to clear their cargoes, saying that after the 90 days grace period, any import without SONCAP certification will be detained by SON, charged a fine of 20 per cent on the value of the goods and subjected to test.
“If the goods pass the test, they are released to the stakeholders, if they fail, they will be destroyed and the importer will be requested to pay for the destruction,” he said.
Angya during a maritime stakeholders’ awareness forum, stressed that the platform will be closed after three months, pointing out that the EPCC meant to fast-track trade flow in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) had resulted into massive importation of substandard goods into the Nigeria market where more than 60 per cent of imports are by-passing the regulation process using the EPCC and other gimmicks.
The President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), represented by the National Publicity Secretary, Stanley Ezenga, said over time, freight forwarders have partnered SON to combat fake and substandard goods in the country, stating that the association is solidly behind SON to combat the scourge.
The State Coordinator, Safe Nigeria Freight Forwarders Association of Nigeria, Dr. Osita Chukwu, said his association is totally committed to eradicate the preponderance of substandard goods into the country.
“We are here to show our solidarity with SON on its new drive to eradicate substandard goods in the country. What is not permissible in other countries should not be allowed in Nigeria. Nigerians should demand for nothing less,” he said.
The Vice President, African Tyre Village, Okechukwu Ezeifeoma blamed trade associations are killing importers, stressing that there are so much trade associations at the port hindering trade development in the nation.
The Coordinator, Zonal Office, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), John Ofodike, said Nigeria has no choice than to support SON its fight against substandard goods due to the vital role it plays in safeguarding lives and properties in the nation.
He commended the agency in its decision to reopen the EPCC, maintaining that it will help genuine importers to clear their cargoes at the ports.