By Ayo Fadimu
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has warned that galvanised steel products manufacturing companies, which produce below the minimum standards would be prosecuted.
Director-General of SON Mr Osita Aboloma gave the warning in Lagos while receiving members of the Galvanised Steel Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (GSMAN), who paid him a courtesy visit.
Aboloma however pledged continued support for those firms which adhere to statutory standardisation requirements governing the sector, saying they deserved commendation for doing what is right
He said that there had been improvements in the area of adherence to standards, but added that some people, due to the prevailing recession, were now resorting to cutting corners warning however that the SON would not tolerate that.
Aboloma said any company or individual caught would not only have their products confiscated, but that their premises would be sealed while they would be made to face the law.
He said a recent market survey conducted on some of the products from the sector showed massive failure in very critical parameters, urging operators to talk to themselves and put a stop forthwith.
According to him, there is no excuse for producing below standards, as Nigerian consumers must have value for any naira they spend in purchasing products.
While commending those who had been following the minimum standards, he urged them not to relent, so that they would maintain an edge over the substandard products being imported into the country.
“People complained to us, and we feel there is need to address these issues and maintain quality standards. If on our own, we fail to do so, it would be difficult to fight substandard products coming from outside”, he said.
Aboloma said as much as the SON would not relent in stopping substandard products, but the stakeholders should also collaborate to make the effors successful.
“We have said that if people see something unwholesome they should say something. Information is key in the job that the SON is doing. All of us should play our parts to stop substandard products in our country”.
He said the meeting was to further collaborate on fighting the menace of substandard galvanised roofing sheets both locally produced and imported, adding:
“For us to help you, you must first of all comply to standards which you have collectively agreed on and we will serve mainly as secretariat to this standard. For imported goods, we want strict compliance with our SONCAP so that people will not take advantage of our porous borders or people declaring false imports. We are fighting that vigorously and we are also doing a lot of market surveillance with the locally produced goods so that people will have confidence in our MANCAP while customers will get value for their money spent,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the association, the Managing Director of KAM Industries Nigeria Limited , Mr.Bola Awojobi , commended SON for its relentless efforts towards curbing the menace of substandard products, adding however that the association members had always been committed to standards, and in obeying the rules set forth by the SON.
“We are assuring the SON that as a group of manufacturers of roofing sheets in Nigeria, we will continue to comply and adhere strictly to SON standards, but the main issue that we have is the unscrupulous importers bringing in fake and substandard products into Nigeria”.
He said it had become a major challenge to most of them, having made huge investments in the country.
“ We have invested and we cannot jeopardise our investment. Our capacity in steel production is over a million tonnes and our market is in Nigeria, so we cannot risk our investment by producing substandard goods”
Awojobi said those perpetrating the crime have not invested a dime in the sector, but were merely seeking to rip off the genuine investors
“ These importers have not invested a dime in this industry and they are bringing in substandard products and even going as far as pirating our brand names. This is where we need the assistance of the federal government and all the agencies that are in charge of ensuring that substandard products do not thrive in the country”.
He said despite all, that the SON deserved commendation in that it had taken the time and pains to go round factories on on-the-spot checks and also tutoring the operators what needed to be done where necessary, but observed that the attraction for cheaper products is the hardship in the economy.
According to him, there is need for the government to address the economic difficulties facing people so that they could be able to make wise purchases.
He urged others to continue to adhere to standards, believing that someday, and with collective effort of the country would come out of the recession currently affecting it.