SON seeks approval to stay at ports to check substandard imports

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…As EU Commissioner says Europe should be worried about Huawei***

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it will reduce the importation of substandard products by 75 per cent by 2019, if permitted to stay in the ports.

Mr Obiora Manafa, SON’s Director of Inspection and Compliance Directorate, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.

The director, who spoke against the backdrop of enforcement, told NAN that SON’s invitation to partake in cargo examination at the port was stalling its operations.

“It is not in our interest and that of the nation for sister operatives resident at the ports to be the one to invite us to come and do our work.

“We ought to be on ground and follow cargo documentation and releasing of same in order to get it right; as most times before we are called upon for examination a lot of infractions have been committed.

“With our stay in the port, it is possible we meet our set target of reduction of the influx of substandard goods into the country,’’ Manafa said.

According to him, 85 per cent of the goods in the market entered through the ports and, therefore, to curb such menace and nip it in the bud, the place to be is at the port.

He said that most of the hindrances the agency was faced with included under-declaration, fake documentation and forgery of SON papers to outsmart the officers.

Manafa added that SON had gone ahead to train its officers to counter all the antics of fake products importers, saying that the organisation had embarked on an awareness programme for importers to avoid seizure.

“After series of awareness campaign, the organisation will embark on massive seizure and prosecution of culprits in all the nooks and crannies of the nation,’’ he said.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in February 2018, reiterated that only eight Federal Government agencies were allowed to operate and have physical representation at all port locations in the country.

NPA noted that this was based on the directive of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to ensure strict compliance with the Oct. 26, 2011 Presidential directive on agencies permitted to operate in the ports.

Agencies allowed representation at the ports are: Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria Police and Department of State Security (DSS).

Other agencies are: Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Port Health and the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

In the meantime, the European Union should be worried about Huawei and other Chinese technology companies because of the risk they pose to the bloc’s industry and security.

The EU’s Technology Commissioner, Andrus Ansip, gave the warning on Friday in Brussels.

“We have to be worried about these companies,” Ansip said.

The commissioner was addressing a news conference in Brussels, days after a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei was arrested in Canada as part of an investigation into alleged bank fraud.

Huawei, which generated 93 billion dollars in revenue last year and is seen as a national champion in China, faces intense scrutiny from many Western nations.

This was because of its ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns it could be used by Beijing for spying.

Ansip said he was worried that Chinese technology companies were required to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services.

He also said those companies produced chips that could be used “to get our secrets.”

“As normal, ordinary people we have to be afraid,” he said, adding he did not have enough information about the recent arrest in Canada.