MAN, SON partner to curb illegal deals, import permit abuse
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have partnered to curb illegal trade deals that might arise with the country’s signing of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Although the president, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed had stated that the agreement would open lots of opportunities for the Nigerian economy, he noted that the deal comes with potential threats and challenges where unscrupulous dealers in substandard goods would hide under it to bring in fake and substandard goods.
To address this challenge, he called on the present administration to empower SON in terms of human, technological and institutional capacity in a bid to combat dumping post-AfCFTA ratification and implementation.
In his words: “I believe this creates a new demand for SON and other regulators to scale up their activities to prevent dumping. By doing this, we are not protecting the interest of only the Nigerian manufacturers, but African manufacturers at large. It requires even greater cooperation with stakeholders such as MAN. I believe this is what the agency is working on now and we will certainly support any effort in this regard.
“SON has built capacity and has also incorporated new technology in their work, but the challenges in the ports have increased and with the signing of the AfCFTA there will be more challenges that would be facing SON. I think returning SON to the ports is something we should look at.”
According to him, plans are ongoing to sign a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SON which would enable both parties to work more extensively, while also addressing issues confronting the manufacturing sector.
“The MoU would address all issues as they arise in a continuous basis, because it is not something we can do once and forget about, we will be interfacing SON continuously and therefore, we need to find a framework which will be provided by the MoU that will enable us to resolve issues as they come without creating challenges to operators or regulators,” he said.
The Director-General, SON, Osita Aboloma, said the meeting was aimed at safeguarding the local manufacturers to achieve accelerated industrial development, saying that SON and MAN’s relationship has been enduring through the years.He pointed out that the standards body was also working with MAN as a team to protect the manufacturing sector against the influx of substandard products.
He said going forward, any importer who abuses the import permit given to manufacturers to import raw materials and machinery for local production would be answerable to SON.
Aboloma added: “Like every other sector, there are bound to be bad eggs who take advantage of loopholes by importing finished products instead of raw materials and machinery. We have also agreed that anybody that takes advantage of this window to import finished products instead of raw materials that we have given concession to will be answerable to us in his personal capacity, he will no longer be sheltered under the concession given to MAN.”
“Import permit is different from SONCAP that is more rigorous for people to bring in goods into the country. When you have a permit to bring in machinery or raw material, but you bring in finished products, it is illegal, whether it is substandard or quality.
“This is because you have already abused the system, you are not only taking advantage of it to bring in substandard products but also short-changing the federal government in terms of revenue to earn foreign exchange. We have perfected plans to sign an MoU to checkmate the lacuna, fashion out definite rules of engagement between SON and members of MAN,” he said.
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