…As NGO inaugurates campaign for Made-in-Nigeria products***
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it will henceforth stop registration of products with a similar business name with an existing brand to eliminate substandard goods.
Its Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim, made this known on Thursday, while receiving the Alaba International Amalgamated Traders Association, during a visit to the SON office in Lagos.
Salim said the action was to tackle the products that hide under the names of successful brands to shortchange the unsuspecting consumers.
He said that the issue of cloning brands could not be handled alone by SON, promising to put a stock of the products registered and certified by the standards body.
“Anytime a new product comes and looks similar to another product registered, and is already popular in the market, we will try to discourage registration of that product with such a name.
“This is to ensure proper identification of already registered products.
“It will increase traceability of products that are not fit to be in circulation,” the director-general said.
Salim also said that the agency would increase its level of engagement with the stakeholders, including the Alaba International Market traders.
He said that the move would help to protect the interest of the business community, while also safeguarding the lives and property.
The director-general said that the agency would work with the stakeholders to sensitise the business community on the need to ensure safety and standards.
Salim, however, warned that unscrupulous individuals would be prosecuted, if found wanting.
“We are here to work with them and to make their jobs easy. We are to protect their interest because they are Nigerians, employing people and they are doing what needs to be done.
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“We are looking forward to cooperating with them to ensure that every other individual in their association, not doing the right thing, is encouraged to do the right thing in the future.
“We are inviting stakeholders and the plan is to work together with them to sensitise and train them on the safety of lives and property.
“As for those still breaking the laws, we will enforce our law, either by the court or through the appropriate regulatory, agency,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman of the association, Mr Fabian Ezeorjika, said there was an existing partnership with SON toward achieving a substandard-free market.
Ezeorjika reaffirmed the association’s commitment to working with SON to fish out the bad eggs in the market.
He said that the association had formed a Joint Task Force, comprising SON officials.
According to him, we are currently running a ‘buyer beware campaign’ in the market.
“SON has destroyed a lot of products, while some of our members are in court.
“We are going to increase the level of collaboration with SON, because we want to bring an end to substandard goods,” Ezeorjika said.
He called on SON to encourage local production, saying that this was a surest way to create wealth and job opportunities for the nation’s teeming youths.
“We need to create a conducive environment for local production. Importation only creates job opportunities for people we import from.
“We must create a platform to boost local production,” the association chairman said.
In the meantime, a Non-Governmental Organisation, (NGO), Ambassadors Initiative for Development and Empowerment (AIDE), on Thursday inaugurated a project to promote Made-in-Nigeria products.
The newsmen report that the projects tagged: ‘Business Stakeholders Advocacy Engagement Project’, is an initiative to also promote market-dominance of locally made goods.
Mr Chimene Paul, Executive Director, AIDE, said at the inauguration in Abuja that the campaign was a flagship project of the ‘Nigeria Market’, an online advocacy platform that promotes patronage of locally-manufactured brands.
According to him, the Business Stakeholders Advocacy Engagement Project is to spearhead dialogue among key stakeholders.
He said the stakeholders included governments, manufacturers, middlemen and consumers to revamp the Nigeria economy.
He added that the project was to offer spotlight and promotions for local manufacturers, thereby expanding their customer –base by bringing their products closer to consumers.
“Nigeria is one of the highest importers of essential and non-essential goods in Africa, and the country also doubles as the world headquarters of poverty.
“Some of these imported products are also produced in Nigeria; imagine the economic benefits, if we create a system as stakeholders that encourage market-dominance and patronage of locally-manufactured products.
“Jobs will be created, more taxes will be paid, Government will have more funds to execute its mandate and the economy will do better.
“This is achievable and that is one of the reasons for this stakeholders’ engagement, to rub minds and make things happen.
“As part of the project, strategic measures have been put in place to draw attention to locally-manufactured Nigerian products and bring them close to consumers,” he said.
Paul said plans were underway by the NGO to spread the ‘buy made-in-Nigeria’ mantra across the country
He, therefore, urged governments at all levels to enact policies that would strengthen and give strategic market advantages to local products.
He also called for the involvement of the organised private sector as key stakeholders in formulating economic policies.
“Our media crew will visit 250 manufactures across sectors in the six geo-political zones of the country to create 15 minutes documentaries on their products that will be aired on major stations and online platforms.
“We will trend the hash-tag “#BuyNaija2GrowNaija” on social media to moblise Nigerians and make the campaign a norm for Nigerians to give preference to locally-manufactured products,” he said.
It was reported that the highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the campaign hash-tag “#BuyNaija2GrowNaija” by stakeholders at the event.
Entrepreneurs and other stakeholders drawn from both the public and the private sectors were present at the event.