By Okezie Nnadi
The DG Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim, has stated that collaboration and partnership is the only way out of our over dependence on imported products. He enjoined Nigerian business men and women to close ranks and begin to look inwards to see how most of what they run abroad to import can be manufactured locally. This he said is an easy way out of the influx of substandard products into the country.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos recently, Mallam Farouk Salim called for collaboration and partnership of Nigerian importers. The DG SON encouraged Nigerian importers and business people to start local production of items and not to continue their over reliance on importation. He encouraged them to also make efforts at building factories to produce all the products they have being importing over the years.
According to him, “I
enjoin you as partners in progress to let us deepen our commitment to make Nigeria better, let us cooperate, collaborate and do the right things for our country to prosper which will translate to our own individual and collective posperity,’ he said.“Most of you here that are importing items or you are helping to import, you have the ability to start producing locally in this country. Why is it so difficult for you to put your money together the same way you put money together to buy containers of one item? You can put your money together and build a small factory and start producing and employing your people as well as start paying taxes to the government.
Continuing, he said, “As patriotic Nigerians, growing our nation’s economy should come through partnership and collaboration. We need to join forces to ‘kill’ Substandard Products before they kill the country’s economy and affect us all negatively.”
While making reference to the complaints by importers of a plethora of seizures of Substandard imports by his officers, the DG reiterated that when SON confiscates substandard products, it is not doing it because it wants to be cruel, ” we are actually pained because people’s monies are going down the drains.” It is not to victimize but rather, we are doing it to protect their business and to protect the final consumers.
According to Salim,
“In other climes, when you buy a product and sell it to the public and the public get injured or they didn’t get satisfaction from the product, you get sued and when you get sued, you lose a lot of money, sometimes, they take you to jail. In Nigeria, we have not developed to that level. We have the laws but we have not developed to the level where somebody goes to buy a substandard cable, sell it to Nigerians and then, Nigerians build houses with it and then, fire comes because of that cable and the whole family perishes and die, nobody tracks down the importer of that product and then, arrest that person and charge him with manslaughter. We have not developed to that level here.
“So, that is the reason why some of the business men think their business is just to make money, they don’t see the consequences of their actions. Sometimes, God will in a way, bring such consequences to their families because maybe their village person or town person who belongs to them will go and buy the cable in the market, save their hard earned money to build their house and then, when fire comes, the whole family perishes and then, we start crying how we hated this while it is man made disaster created by us”, he said.
Salim explained that with quality products,
profit would still be made. He explained that it’s erroneous when people think they can only make profit if they import substandard items. He attributed the import and patronage of Substandard products to ignorance and lack business knowledge.
“We have to work together as Nigerians to save this country. We don’t have any other country better than this country. So, this country we are destroying slowly and blaming everybody else but us will not survive, our children will not have great country. We need to seriously address this issue,’ he chided.
He reiterated that SON is committed to protecting compliant businesses involved in local manufacturing as well as importation of quality products into Nigeria.