Exporters deny using other countries’ labels to prevent rejection
Nigerian exporters have denied the allegations that they forge ‘country of origin’ and use labels of neighbouring West African countries on their goods to avoid rejection by European countries.
The denial comes on the heels of the allegation that Nigerian exporters sometimes tamper with the label of Nigerian products to be accepted by European countries.
Recall that last week, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, had confirmed that some Nigerian exporters bypass the agency to re-label their products.
She lamented that exporters are boycotting regulatory procedures and that all the food products rejected abroad never went through the scrutiny of both NAFDAC and the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS).
She had raised the alarm that about 76 per cent of the country’s products are rejected by the EU and NAFDAC was informed using the rapid alert systems that these products have been rejected.
Also confirming the rejection and stereotyping of Nigerian exports, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, recently urged the British government to address the issue.
Bello-Koko told the UK Minister for Export, Mike Freer, who was in Nigeria on trade facilitation that the wrong profiling of Nigerian exports is borne out of a preconceived hostile perception of Nigeria and that it is not based on the quality of exports from Nigeria.
On her part, the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Olufunmilayo Olotu, advocated that exports from Nigeria should not be treated with any reputational bias to enable the country to earn due recognition and value for her trade initiatives in the UK.
During a visit to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Export Park in Apongbon area of Lagos, some exporters kicked against allegations of adopting foreign labels.
The Assistant Manager of the export park, Ambali Ajiboye, said Nigerian exporters do not use foreign labels, adding that only products imported into the country have their labels changed to “Made-in-Nigeria.”
Ajiboye informed that exporters at the ECOWAS park only export Nigerian industrial packaged products such as beverages, Nigerian-made diapers, processed foods like semovita, noodles and others, to more than 13 African countries under the ECOWAS.
According to him, it will be very difficult to change the labels of these products because they are known brands with some having peculiar Nigerian packaging.
The Assistant Park manager hinted that exporters don’t have issues at the border, adding that they currently use only the Seme border to export goods due to the initial closure of the Idiroko border, but upon reopening, he promised to resume export activities at Idiroko soonest.
Speaking also, the Vice President Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), John Aluya, stated that export goods are only rejected when they do not conform to the specifications required.
He noted that some Nigerian products are the best in the world, while asking relevant government agencies to do more on agro produce without compromise to avoid rejection.
In a veiled confirmation that Nigerian produce are often rejected, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, last week inaugurated a committee to examine and also end the rejection of Nigeria agro produce in the international market, which has led to huge financial losses with attendant negative impact on the supply value chain and job creation.