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AfCFTA Implementation: Reposition SON For Nation’s Interest – MAN

-by our correspondent.

The Kano branch of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called for the proper positioning of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) at the Nation’s entry points in preparation for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

National Vice President of MAN, North West Zone, Ali Madugu, made the call in Kano while receiving the Director General of SON, Farouk Salim, who was on a working visit to the State recently. He emphasized the need for SON to verify all imported products including those from West African Countries, despite the rule of origin under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme.

“The commencement of the AfCFTA further underscores the need for SON’s presence at the entry points to prevent Nigeria from being turned into a dumping ground of substandard, fake and counterfeited products from other African Countries.” Madugu said.

He acknowledged the need for product authentication as an additional tool to fight faking, adulteration and unfair competition and urged SON to look at the best way to implement it without putting genuine manufacturers at disadvantage in terms of cost and the procedure for compliance.

The MAN National Vice President, commended Salim’s approach to addressing the concerns of about 140-member strong, North West branch of MAN and listed many other issues for his consideration.

The issues according to him include; Decentralization of SON’s testing facilities through building of additional Laboratories across the country, including Kano, Easier processing of import documents without necessarily visiting SON Headquarters in Abuja, and Greater protection of local manufacturers’ MANCAP certified products from adulteration and faking of their brands in Nigeria and overseas.

MAN, North West Zone and SON officials

For his part, the SON DG said his Agency was set up to provide technical assistance and support to genuine local manufacturers as well as protect them from unfair competition from substandard products.  He acknowledged their sacrifices through investment in infrastructure, creation of job opportunities and regular payment of taxes as part of growing the Nation’s wealth and assured them of his commitment and support.

In his words “We need to partner with MAN to protect genuine manufacturers and legitimate importers by sharing intelligence to apprehend and prosecute standards infractions. With adequate consequences for actions, most people will follow the rules”.

Salim asked MAN and other stakeholders to look forward to “seamless and robust deployment of information communication technology to enhance the agency’s delivery of efficient services and an appreciable reduction in turnaround time for standards development, product certification and registration amongst others.”

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