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Insecurity: SON laments restricted access to bonded terminals

By Adaku Onyenucheya
20 April 2022   |   2:43 am
The Director-General of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Farouk Salim, has lamented that there is no one or agency tracking importers of substandard goods entering the country.

Farouk Salim

The Director-General of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Farouk Salim, has lamented that there is no one or agency tracking importers of substandard goods entering the country.

Salim made the call yesterday during a maritime stakeholders’ sensitisation forum with the theme “Standards Save Lives Grow Economy.”

He attributed the high rate of insecurity in the country to the importation of substandard goods through the ports.

The DG lamented the restricted access to ports, bonded terminals and major markets, which he said are avenues for importing arms and ammunition used in escalating insecurity in the country.

“We don’t have access to bonded terminals and people use bonded terminals to import arms and ammunition, which bandits and terrorists use to propagate insecurity in this country. We also don’t have access to major markets. When our officials go there on information, they are viciously attacked and injured in the process. This is limiting our ability to track illicit importation,” he lamented.

Salim noted that the essence of the sensitisation with stakeholders was to communicate and share views on how to make businesses more efficient.

MEANWHILE, the clearing agents operating at Lagos ports have called for a reversal of the executive decision banning SON from the ports to check the importation of substandard goods into the country.

The Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto, noted that if the country must win the war against the importation of sub-standard goods in the country, there is a need to return SON back to the seaports.

Farinto, while delivering a paper, titled: “Juxtaposing Substandard Imports: SON’s Absence At Seaport,” informed that since the agency vacated the seaports a few years ago with the intention of the government to allow it do the role of regulation outside the ports, there has been increasing in the importation of sub-standard goods.

He said there is a need to reverse the executive decision if the nation must win the war against the importation of sub-standard goods in the country.

The ANLCA vice president noted that if the trend is not arrested urgently by providing solution, then it may affect the economy and impact the nation’s income drastically.

Farinto said if stakeholders must achieve ease of doing business, freight forwarders and customs brokers, should do away with the dishonest declaration, such as concealment, and inaccurate description of imports and exports, to circumvent the procedures, which he described as impediments to achieving ease of doing business.

On his part, the President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Tochukwu Ezisi, who was represented by his Chief of Staff Emma Agunbaze, urged SON to engage stakeholders more, which he said was key to improving accountability within the organisation as well as external audiences.

He said stakeholders’ engagement will further ensure proper consideration of interests while commending SON for embracing the ease of doing business in the country.