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SON, CBN, Customs integrate online platforms to combat substandard goods



National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Custom Agents, Prince Olayiwola Shittu (left); Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Dr Joseph Odumodu; President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr, Frank Udemba Jacobs; and Director, Policy and Programmes Monitoring Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Ezra Zubairu, at a sensitisation seminar for stakeholders, in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

IN a move to further stem the preponderance of fake and substandard goods in the country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have commenced an online data sharing initiative to check the influx of such goods in the country.

The move, which would be implemented through SON’s e-certificate platform, would see the agencies collaborating and integrating SON’s e-certificate into the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS).

Under the arrangement, SON’s e-product certificate and SONCAP certificate will now be tied to the relevant processes for the generation of form M and generation of PAAR for clearance of goods at the port.

The Director General, SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu explained that this move by SON is to enhance trade facilitation and protect the clearance of cargoes at the port, while also seeking ways to minimise and possibly eliminate faking of SON’s certificate.

The SON boss, represented by the agency’s Head of Port Operations, Sulaimon Issa at a sensitisation programme to train bankers on the integration of SON e-certificate into the NICIS, said ‎the initiative will also create a collaborative environment for government agencies to share real time information on national security, planning and compilation of national statistics. ‎‎ “Today’s occasion is a furtherance of SON’s e-clearance processes.

We are witnessing the integration of SON’s e-product certificate and SONCAP certificate which are now being tied to the relevant processes for the generation of form M and generation of PARR which are important for clearance of goods at the port. ‎ “The proposed integration will simplify trading activities.

In the past you will need to get your manual certificate and later go to the bank wasting man-hours. This platform is time-saving and we are on the trade portal where you can see all the relevant regulations and the requirements of SON, check your certificate and also activate your certificate. In the course of generating your form M, you can also attach your certificate,” he stressed.

He said the integration of SON’s e-certificate is part of the sensitisation programme, saying announcements are ongoing in the media to sensitise the general public on the agency’s recent developments ‎to safeguard lives and properties in the country.

‎ Also speaking at the event, the Comptroller, Information, Communications Department, Nigeria Customs Service, Aber Benjamin said the programme is a completion of one of the very important processes to help surmount the challenges traders undergo when bringing in goods. “We all know that there are cases of substandard goods in the country.

Obtaining certificates to show that these goods have being approved by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and other regulatory enforcement agencies in Nigeria is apt in the nation’s quest to address influx of substandard goods ‎ In his words, “If we complete this processes, every importer who goes to SON to obtain the Electronic Product Certificate (EPC) will be available on the NICIS platform where alll the regulatory enforcement agencies will see and authenticate the certificate.

Most of the problems we are having with imports in the country are documents that cannot be traced to their sources.” He said with the advent of these processes, it will authenticate and give credibility to the documentation the SON, stating that the platform will help the trading public to generate their form M in the most effective and efficient manner. ‎ “With this initiative, we are making business more difficult for people who are not complying with the standards.

When we started this process in 2006, most of these processes were done manually causing a lot of confusion, but with this platform, there is no need to visit the Nigerian customs to do a declaration. “This has now made business predictable and transparent.

We are adding new processes on a continuous basis and also bringing other regulatory bodies on board so that we can have everybody on the same page to ensure hitch-free trading activities, he added.

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