The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has developed a product authentication mark (PAM) in order to check the influx of substandard manufactured and imported products into the market.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the SON Director-General, Mallam Farouk Salim, described PAM as one of the organisation’s initiatives to allow consumers to verify the authenticity of all SON-regulated products in the market.
He expressed the hope that the mark will help to address the influx of substandard products into the country.
“This is one of the initiatives of the organisation to enable consumers to verify the authenticity of all SON-regulated products in the market. It will also address the challenges of the presence of substandard products in Nigeria,” Farouk said, adding that the organisation is empowered by the provisions of the SON Act 2015, to amongst other things, facilitate trade and to ensure that all imported and manufactured products meet the requirements of the relevant standards thereby promoting public safety, improve the lives and security of citizens and also, to protect our industries.
Justifying the need for the PAM initiative, the SON boss said, “In line with this mandate, the organisation, over the years, has substantially reduced the importation, manufacturing, and distribution of substandard products in the country through its mandatory conformity assessment and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria conformity assessment.
“Despite the efforts of the organisation, substandard products are still imported and distributed in the country through smuggling and the use of SON stickers in non-certified products illegally, among others.
“To cut this disturbing occurrence I the country, the organisation has developed a product authentication mark to facilitate the verification of the authenticity of the products in the Nigerian market.
“We call on investors, consumers and other stakeholders to support the organisation’s effort and restall the public confidence in the organisation’s regulated products.
“PAM is a digital technology to complement the SON conformity assessment, SONCAP and MAN GAP in furtherance of the fight against substandard and counterfeit products in Nigeria.”
In his paper presentation, the Director, Product Certification, Tersoo Orngudwen, explained that everybody is a consumer irrespective of his or her status, hence the need to assist SON in conducting check before buying any product in the market.
Orngudwen said: “The introduction of Product Authentication Mark (PAM) will provide an online platform for consumers to directly authenticate the validity of certification on SON regulated products before purchase and thus have value for their money.
“It will also give protection to genuine products on sale in the market. Without patronage, substandard, fake, cloned and counterfeited products would have no market for their products, importers are advised to apply and acquire the sticker from SON at the cost of N3.00.
“Why do we buy substandard products if we are not substandard? Is it market forces? And the market forces keeps making to but over and over again, instead of buying one time. Why? PAM before you buy. All of are victims of substandard products.
“So, if SON has certified a product; if SON has registered a product, going to the market; how will you be sure that iron, that phone, that bag, name it, meets the requirements. Naira is very scarce.
“So, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria is bringing in a digital engagement security device with is the Product Authentic Mark. When you go to the market, what we expect of you us check on the p, scan using your phone, either IOS or android phone or even you have a torchlight phone, just send an SMS and it will return and tell you the product is good to buy.
“It is an extension of our conformity assessment programme. You may ask; is it not double certification? No! We have a certification and then, there is a sign to tell you that the product you are buying is real. It is of value; it will give you value for your money.”
Speaking during the forum, SON Coordinator in Rivers State, Dr. Samuel Oshe, described the inauguration of the product authentication mark in Rivers State as a landmark event for the organisation.
Oshe said: “The inauguration of PAM today, which is Product Authentication Mark in Rivers State is landmark for SON, and it is going to assist us in curbing the influx of substandard products.
“Substandard products have thrived in Nigeria because people do not have nose for authenticating the genuinety of products, but with this mark on the products, you can just send an SMS or check through the PAM to confirm your purchase.
“For Standards Organisation of Nigeria, it will also help us to reduce the pressure from people calling to confirm whether this product is genuine or not. They can confirm it there in the market before the make the purchase.
“It is a very big landmark for SON and for consumers in Nigeria. I want to encourage consumers to look for these marks and make use of it before they make any payments and purchasing in Nigeria. Check and confirm before you make any payments. Don’t spend your money in vain.”
In his goodwill message, Chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Rivers/Bayelsa State chapter, Vincent Okwukwu, commended SON for extending its major functions and programmes to Rivers State.
Okwukwu said: “SON used to stop in Lagos but you can now see that they are extending it to Port Harcourt, sensitising stakeholders on the role, how easy to do business.
“And we in MAN, we are also now letting know, those who have investment ideas, come to MAN and we will assist you with designs for production. If want to do any manufacturing work, come to MAN secretariat. We have experts who will guide you on where to buy your machines and how to do business in Port Harcourt. Port Harcourt is better now than before.
“In fact, the impact of this PAM is that it will now help for us to differentiate between fake products and genuine products. Like what we know, people easily now just take a picture of your products and then, just send the catalogue to somebody in China or one of these Asian countries and they will now reproduce your product on a lower grade and dump it and they will not pay import duty like when we bring raw materials here, we pay import duty for raw material.
“We also pay other logistics before we start production. But, this person with finished products will not go through any of these courses. With PAM, we can compete with anybody provided that the product reaches the standards of production process as stipulated by SON.”
Also, in his goodwill message, President of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce Industry Mine and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), Eze Mike Elechi, called on SON and other regulatory bodies to ensure the prosecution of importers of fake and substandard products into the country.
Elechi stated that consumers were going through difficulties due to the activities fake importers who have flooded the country with fake and substandard products.
He maintained that SON and other related agencies must as a matter of urgency faction out strategies on how to tackle the menace of fake products so as Nigerian populace will get assurance and confidence on the product and services they are consuming.