…To unveil standards to boost MSMEs
By Charles Nwaoguji
Global demand for Nigeria’s yam produce may soon soar as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), last week, disclosed it would establish internationally acceptable standard for the product to increase its consumption across the world.
Acting Director General of SON, Dr. Paul Angya, who dropped the hint, Saturday, said this would enable yam tubers and their derivatives to trade internationally as Nigerian branded products. He expressed optimism that this certification will boost the efforts of Nigerian farmers and exporters of the product to Europe, Asia and America where millions of Nigerians live.
Speaking at a capacity building programme organised by the agency for Commerce and Industry Correspondent Association of Nigeria (CICAN) in Lagos, Angya said currently Nigerian yams are processed as yam chips, which are dried or frozen and exported, adding that it can last for two years and when pounded it will just be like normal yam.
He assured that SON was on the virge of developing standards for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to further encourage their competitiveness.
But despite the organisation’s effort to encourage exporters of processed products, the SON boss lamented that the influx of substandard foreign products into the country stressing it is killing the nation’s economy.
He said that the menace of such substandard products from China had led to the collapse of many industries in the country.
Angya observed that fake products particularly from China are responsible, to a large extent, for the collapse of most industries in Nigeria.
“As you are aware, substandard products are killing our economy. If you go to manufacturers today, you will discover that most companies have collapsed because we have ignored standards and that is why we are suffering. In fact, some of these foreign products being consumed in Nigeria are injurious to our health and poor people are dying and nobody is asking questions,” he said.
He noted that some companies left Nigeria for a more conducive environment because they are losing money to competition against substandard products.
The SON boss lamented that no company currently produces tyre in Nigeria, citing the case of Michelin and Dunlop, which relocated their production facilities to Ghana because of the harsh operating environment.
However, he said, “we are doing a lot to arrest the situation and that is why we are sensitising Nigerians to know and stand for their rights. Once they notify us of a substandard product that they purchased, we will immediately go into action to investigate the source.”
The Director General stated that dumping is systematically killing local initiatives as well as industries, noting that 90 per cent of imported products coming into the country are through the seaports hence the need to allow the agency return to the ports.
“To stem the problem and revamp the economy, we need to stop fake products from coming in through the seaports but by the act of previous government, SON was asked to leave the ports and as a result, we have no opportunity to verify the quality of 90 per cent of containers coming into Nigeria through the seaports. Out of the 90 per cent, we are able to verify 30 per cent of the containers by chasing them on the streets,” he stated.