Abuja – The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Director-General, Joseph Odumodu, said on Thursday that Nigeria loses over N1trillion annually due to importation of substandard products into the country.
At a forum organised by the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Odumodu said: “Statistics from a survey we conducted in 2011 showed that an estimated annual loss to sub-standard products may be in excess of N1trillion."
He called for urgent action to check the scourge to safe the country’s industries from total collapse in the next three years.
The director-general said that the substandard products undermined the nation’s economy. Over 80% of sub-standard products, imported into the country, originated from Asian countries.
"The scourge is worse than terrorism," Odumodu stated.
Odumodu called on the Federal Government to hold bilateral discussions with Asian countries to prohibit trade activities that were inimical to development of Nigeria’s economy.
“It is unfortunate that Nigerians are strong patrons of substandard products and end up spending more money to buy the same products over and over again. We need to talk to Asian countries to make sure that policies they can’t allow to happen in their country should not be implemented in Nigeria by their producers. We need bilateral agreements where a product that is not accepted in their country should not be brought to Nigeria,’’ he said.
The SON boss said that the continued importation of sub-standard products into the country has turned Nigeria into a dumping ground for unwanted products from overseas countries with its attendant hazards.
He explained that over 20% of annual road accidents were as a result of the over 50 million sub-standard tyres, imported into the country by devious importers.
Odumodu decried the absence of an accredited laboratory in the country to test imported products.
He appealed to the National Assembly to ensure speedy passage of the draft SON bill. According to him, it would provide stiffer penalties and empowers SON to prohibit sale of sub-standard products in Nigeria.
He also called for more funding for the organisation to enable it to build laboratories and strengthen the current laws guiding its operations to make them conform to current global best practices.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Investments, Nenadi Usman, assured that the National Assembly would give accelerated hearing and passage of the bill that would strengthen the operations of SON.