Some stakeholders’ in the maritime industry have said that Nigeria may not enjoy the dividends of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) without the presence of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) at the nation’s ports.
The stakeholders who spoke via a statement, said the SON needed to be there to check the quality and standards of good coming into the country.
They made their submissions at the inauguration of the powerful pen media chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalism (NUJ) in Lagos.
The president, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, observed that the ECOWAS treaty and AFCFTA agreement Nigeria signed had made her borderless, and required effective check by the standardisation agency.
According to him, these agreements would provide access Asia repackaged products shipped into neighbouring countries with Nigeria being the final destination.
In his words, “The AfCFTA we signed allows for free movement of goods into the country, but if we really understand the essence of SON, the matter of quality and standardisation of products as the key role to economy development is supposed to be discussed in the agreement. The role of SON has to be put in better perspective to enable the organisation function very well.”
The ECOWAS treaty Nigeria signed into is disadvantage to us because products coming from the European and Asian markets are repackaged into neighbouring countries to be brought into Nigeria.
“This is why we are worried and I want to believe that if we are being honest in what we are doing, SON must be brought back to the port immediately and returning back to the port has nothing to do with issues inhibiting seamless operations at the port.
‘So the presence of SON at the port will only add value such as putting faces to the owners of consignments Know Your Customer (KYC).”
Also speaking at the event, Publisher and Editor in Chief, Mega Splash Magazine who also doubles as the Chairman, Powerful Pen Media Chapel, Alhaji. Tunde Daniel, said whatever policy that ordered SON out of the ports is wrong, saying that life is all about standards.
He urged the stakeholder work relentlessly with other relevant stakeholders to relentlessly for the return of SON to the nation’s ports.
“We can only check these products from their sources. We can only stop these goods from entering at the ports. As a body, the powerful pen media chapel is going to take it up in whatever way we can to achieve it.
“Standard is life and SON means everything to us. In my capacity as the chairman of the chapel, we must stand by SON. We are not only supporting SON, but every citizen in the country because we want our lives protected,” he added.
Meanwhile, Engr. Enebi Shuaibu of the Inspectorate and Compliance Department, SON, said it would be difficult to combat the influx of substandard goods into the country without being at the point of entry
He said: “The new chairman has promised us of their campaign for SON to go back to the ports, because they have seen that there is no way that the new agreement will be a success without SON being at the port to check for the quality of all imports.