The Director-General of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Dr. Paul Angya, has explained how the unrestrained influx of substandard products into Nigeria contributed to the current economic recession in the country.
Addressing journalists and other stakeholders during a-two day Capacity Development Retreat for media executives in Lagos, he stated that the country was facing the most supreme challenge of economic downturn, facilitated by continual spread of substandard goods across the Nigerian market.
According to him, “These substandard products are like weeds growing up among a farmer’s crop. It has been a major challenge for us at SON even though we have a lot of initiatives to get to the heart of these imported products. 90% per cent of them come in mainly through the seaports of this country. We are not allowed to operate at that port and by the conspiracy of a segment of our society; who are benefiting from the importation and circulation of these substandard products.
“They even mount a campaign against SON. So any attempt to communicate with the appropriate quarters on the need for SON to be repositioned to deliver on its mandate is resisted vehemently by the community that is controlling especially importation of sub-standard products.
“The resistance sometimes is violent. I personally and a lot of my staff have been subjected to intimidations, blackmail and outright open threat. This community of people we are talking about form less than 1% of the population, these people who have destroyed the economy control the importation of substandard products. They determine whether our economy can grow or not.”
Angya disclosed that the challenge does not stop at illegal ease of entry in that it contributes to the repression of mainstream sectors of the economy including manufacturing, agricultural among others.
He stated that since the substandard products appear cheap to obtain, local producers with quality injected goods are relegated in competition with such goods, thereby leading to the closure of firms unable to cope with the overwhelming pressure of fake products.
“If they were able to do to our thriving manufacturing sector, enterprising climate what they have done to cripple it, they can still do the same for any initiative and investment that we can attract in Nigeria,” DG said noting that Nigeria’s current situation as a less producing economy is more endangered. But to stem it, revamp the economy and establish an atmosphere to safeguard investments of genuine manufacturers, the government needs to approve SON’s operation at the port,” the SON boss said.