SON Mulls New Measures To Stop Fake Products


Mohammed Shosanya

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON),will soon launch its Product Authentication Mark (PAM) sticker designed to check the inflow of fake, sub-standard and Counterfeiting goods imported into the country.

Mallam Farouk Salim, Director General and Chief Executive(SON),who announced this at a stakeholders sensitisation programme on Product Authentication Mark (PAM) in Lagos,said over 20 security features sticker would solve the prevailing challenges experienced as a result of dishonesty on the part of fraudulent importers and manufacturers of products.

A statement signed by the Director of Public Relations,SON,Mrs.Foluso Bolaji,quoted Salim, as saying that the agency had introduced the Conformity Assessment Programme which is meant for imported goods into Nigeria to make sure that goods coming into Nigeria are certified before they reach its market.

“SON introduced the SONCAP to ensure the quality of products in our markets that we will be proud of as consumers while the merchants of fake products will continue to flood the market with substandard items.

“We also introduced for the locally manufactured goods the MANCAP in order not to be seen by the International Community as creating a trade barrier so that imported goods cannot come into our country especially with Nigeria being a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“With this imported product will be certified and given the Product Authentication Mark (PAM) and it will be in our market,” he said.

Salim,while reminding the stakeholders that a sister agency, the National Agency for Drug and Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has similar sticker for drugs, only noted that despite the PAM scheme covering all SON regulated products both locally manufactured and imported,it would be made voluntary to locally manufacturers but advised them to key into the scheme in order to keep Nigeria safe and strong.

“The sticker is not mandatory for the locally manufactured products for now, we are making it voluntary for them as I believe if they see the beauty of the PAM and the security it brings to their products, most of them will embrace it in due time.

“PAM will also protect genuine manufacturers and importers from faking and counterfeiting of their certified product as well as promote a level playing field in the market for both locally manufactured and imported products certified by SON,” he said.

Speaking, Mr. Enebi Onucheyo,
Deputy Director, Product Certification, said arising from rampant application of the mark on non- certified products, SON decided to control the printing of the mark as well as improve its security features through physical and digital technology.

“PAM will fortify the authenticity of SON certified products belonging to genuine manufacturers and importers by providing a level playing field for imported and locally manufactured products.

“It will also ensure value for money to both consumers and manufacturers by diminishing the negative effects of faking, cloning and counterfeiting of SON certified products.PAM wil further help consumers to identify genuine and certified SON regulated products,”he said.

SON Goes Tough On Dealers Of Fake Products

Mohammed Shosanya

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria,SON,is putting in place stiffer punitive measures to check the activities of the dealers of sub-standard products in the country

Mr. Farouk Salim, Director General of SON,spoke in Abuja at the Stakeholders Conference organised by Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria(CICAN).

He said the Act establishing the Organisation is currently being reviewed at the National Assembly,adding that the Act would provide stiffer sanctions for unscrupulous individuals who import and deal with sub-standard products.

He said,the bill to repeal and enact SON Act, when passed into law would not only impose fines on dealers of sub-standard products, but also prescribe jail terms to them to serve as a deterrent to others.

He also said the bll to repeal and enact SON Act, when passed into law would criminalise the production, manufacturing and distribution of substandard products that could endanger the lives of consumers in the country.

The Act was aimed at strengthening the core mandate of the Organisation against malpractices as well as “encourage improved competitiveness of Nigerian goods at home and abroad by encouraging quality assurance practices”,he said.

Speaking on the organisation’s role so far on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, Salim said SON has been working with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to ensure efficient Service delivery through the promotion of a transparent and efficient business environment and publication of processes and requirements, timelines and fees in SON premises and on its website.

He disclosed that the SON emerged tops in the PEBEC 2020/21 ranking in the Ease of Doing Business among Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) in Nigeria.

He further noted that Off-shore Conformity
Assessment Programme (SONCAP) was part of continuous efforts by SON to protect Nigerian consumers from unsafe and or sub-standard products.

According to him, “Standards Organisation of Nigeria has in place an off-shore Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) since September 1, 2005. The programme is to ensure that regulated imports comply with the approved Standards, Technical Regulations and other specifications acceptable in Nigeria.

“The SONCAP certificate is a mandatory customs clearance document in Nigeria and Regulated Products arriving without this document will be subject to delays to assess conformance to Standards requirements and possibly denial of entry if found non-conforming.

“SONCAP is applicable to Regulated Products in addition to any other existing import processes.”

CSR-in-Action Consulting has announced its membership with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce serves businesses in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and is a member-driven organisation of individuals and businesses that unites to advance the economic, financial, and civic interests of the North-western community at the forefront of the provincial government’s Ring of Fire thrust, one of the most promising mineral development opportunities for critical minerals in the province.

It pools together resources to provide learning opportunities for members, address policy concerns, create contacts between members, and seek to unite businesses to pursue shared objectives.

CSR-in-Action’s President, ‘Bekeme Olowola met with the Chamber’s President, Charla Robinson and Member Relations Director, Thera Chicoine, to discuss opportunities for collaboration with the chamber and other members around its programs and services based on three main pillars: advocacy, engagement, and empowerment, during which a plaque of membership was presented.

As a member, CSR-in-Action will engage other key stakeholders to advance the community’s economic, financial, and civic interests, as part of a burgeoning corporate business ecosystem in the region.

Following the acceleration of operations in the Canadian mining and exploration industry and with sustainability emerging as a core component of business strategy for efficient and dynamic corporate organisations, CSR-in-Action is poised to provide world class services to North American extractive industries and other sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, agriculture and manufacturing, and to provide business intelligence and critical insights for businesses and investors seeking to penetrate the African business terrain.

She added:“Being a member of Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, Canada, allows us to extend our advocacy for sustainable business practices to North America. We are grateful for the opportunity to join this prestigious group and look forward to all that it offers, whilst contributing our expertise to it and the business environment.”

FG Moves To Review Criteria For Disbursement Of N500bn SME Loans: 

The federal government says it would review the conditions used by the relevant banks to disburse loans to the Medium and Small Scale Enterprises in the country to ensure geographical spread.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this on Thursday when she appeared before the Senate ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the alleged uneven disbursement of the disbursed to MSMEs by development banks.
The Senate had setup an adhoc panel chaired by Senator Sani Musa to investigate a motion by Senator Ali Ndume, alleging irregularities in the handling of the federal government’s credit facility.
Ndume, in his motion alleged that the South-West geopolitical zone in the country, especially Lagos State, had the largest number of the loan beneficiaries.
Ahmed,who appeared before the panel on Thursday,pledged to meet with the development banks management and their regulators, the Central Bank of Nigeria, to carry out the review of the criteria for loans disbursement.
Ahmed however, warned that such review would not be too flexible to ensure the sustainability of the development banks.
She said: “I have been given copies of reports already submitted to the committee by the development bank. The criteria to access funds from the development banks are set by the supersing ministry. The last one was targeted at the technology sustainability plan.
“The Development Bank of Nigeria was set up to enhance the development of the MSMEs across the country but it doesn’t lend directly to the beneficiary businesses. Instead it lend to them through microfinance banks. The MFBs also provide criteria for the lendee and do credit analysis. They send their reports to the DBN which would collate the report and approve for disbursement.
“The criteria set by the DBN was reviewed by the regulator and approved by CBN. The Bank of Industry was set up to also stay healthy as a bank. It has done very well in terms of loans repayment. it is the only financial development institution that is giving dividends to the federal government.
“The BoI has also been able, on its own, using it’s balance sheet, to raise resources from the domestic capital market as well as from the international capital markets. It is doing quite well in terms of its performance but we hope it could more and use it’s exposure to do more.
“Right now we are struggling to reinvigorate the Bank of Agriculture which was also subjected to regulations and criteria, in areas that would make it stay afloat and make some certain level of returns because that is what would provide efficiency in the bank.
“If government continue to provide intervention funds without adherence to criteria to sustain existence of the banks, it will threaten their existence. I agree that we have to strike a balance between the survival of the banks, their profitability and the development objective of setting them up.
“Our ministry, the regulator which is the CBN to review the criteria so that we could strike a balance that would enable the banks to do more where development is much more needed. I have also seen reports of the development banks and noticed the uneven disbursement of their loans.
“We also have to be careful so that the banks would not use the review of the criteria as an excuse. For instance, before the current management of the Bank of Agriculture took over, the CBN just released funds and gave lists of those to give money to without giving us opportunity to scrutinise the beneficiaries.
“At the end of the 90 per cent of the facilities failed. We would also involve the National Assembly so that we would strike a balance between the objective of setting up the development banks and the need toake sure that they stay afloat and have a healthy balance sheet to be able to continue to do their work.
“Our intervention as a government is limited to our ability to continue to fund them so we make sure that they are healthy enough to also raise funds whether from local or international sources. Whatever we lend to them is not enough to make them carry out their objective.
Earlier, Senator Sani Musa said the federal government supported the development banks so that they would not be using the same considerations that commercial banks are using.
He said:”We want to know the conditionalities that are making it very difficult for the MSMEs to access funds from the development banks, there is the need to look at it critically.
“We want to know the criteria being used by the development banks to disburse funds because we know that the standards were set by the Central Bank of Nigeria.The criteria should be such that the weak MSMEs would be able to access it”
Besides,Senator Ibrahim Hadejia emphasized the need to know the criteria used in the disbursement of the loans.
Senator Yusuf Yusuf also said, “If the loans being disbursed by development banks were guaranteed by the Federal Government, they are sovereign loans which must be guided by the principles of even distribution. The DBN said the PFIs which are primarily commercial banks and micro finance banks use their own criteria to give out loans not by geographical consideration. The PFIs and Commercial banks are basically for profit and not for development.”
NBC Harps On Innovation In Manufacturing Sector

The Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited,has reiterated its commitment to championing innovative and sustainable practices in the nation’s food manufacturing  sector.

Mr. Ekuma Eze, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Director at NBC, in his speech at this year’s edition of the ECOWAS Manufacturing Excellence Awards (EMEA) organised by Independent Newspapers, BusinessDay- Ghana and African Consolidated Analytical Limited.

NBC emerged winner across three key categories, which included ECOWAS Energy Drinks Manufacturing Company of the Year; Juice/Beverage Drinks Manufacturing Company of the Year, and ECOWAS Soft Drinks Manufacturing Company of The Year.

Eze expressed his delight at the recognition.

He added:“As a prominent player in the manufacturing sector, the awards are a testament to our revolutionary work and our leadership, particularly in the areas of product innovation, and investment in the development of infrastructure to create shared value for our stakeholders and communities.

“Despite the challenges posed by the current business climate, it remains our goal to continue to contribute immensely to the growth of the Nigerian economy and uplift the livelihood of its people, thus we are grateful to the conveners for this recognition”.

The annual award was aimed at celebrating outstanding individuals and organisations in the manufacturing industry that had demonstrated innovation excellence across their operations and had made remarkable contributions to the growth of the local economy.

Zambia Seeks Dangote’s Partnership On Agric Industry Development

The Zambian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Chipoka Mulenga, has sought the assistance of the President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote in the development of his country’s agricultural sector.

Chipoka Mulenga, who led a delegation from Zambia on tour of the 3.00 million metric tonnes Dangote Fertiliser plant at the weekend, called for a collaboration between Dangote Group and the Zambian government in the establishment of fertiliser plant in the southern African country.

According him, the Zambian government has created an enabling environment for local and foreign investment through great incentives to attract investment in all sectors of the economy.

“The Zambian government in the last budget made some pronouncements which focus on value addition, industrialisation, skill enhancement and development. We have a huge youthful population who are ready to work if given the opportunity to be productive,” he said.

He described Zambia as Africa’s new investment destination because of its stable political system, stable macroeconomic environment and investment protection guarantees.

He said that Zambia is strong in agriculture and even seeking to become stronger through having its own Fertiliser plant. “Rather than continue to import Fertiliser from anywhere, we want Aliko Dangote to come and establish plant in Zambia.

The country’s fertiliser consumption has increased tremendously in the last few years and has continued to increase. I am happy that we no longer have to go outside of Africa to seek investors. Dangote has been able to change the narratives through his investment in cement production across Africa. We now have Africans investing in the Africa continent. Dangote has already established the biggest cement plant in Zambia. Dangote Cement Zambia has a remarkable portfolio and is bringing positive change to the cement industry, not only in Zambia, but also to other neigbouring countries,” he added.

He lauded the President/CE of Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote for investing massively in fertiliser production in Nigeria. ”This could only happen because the company put the right people, right leadership, right technical skills and the right management in place to have such a remarkable result. This Fertiliser Plant is not only serving the needs of Nigeria, but also attracting foreign exchange into the continent. This is a good demonstration that we can have this kind of investment in any part of Africa, which can grow and be beneficial to other countries.”

He advised Nigerians to guard Dangote investments and other local investments in Nigeria. “Let all Nigerians support this investment to grow from strength to strength. This is amazing and we will like to have a similar investment in Zambia.”

Speaking at the end of the tour, Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Fertiliser Limited, Mr. Vishwajit Sinha said demand for Urea fertiliser in the Nigerian market and beyond remains robust and is expected to continue to grow.

He said the $2.5 billion fertiliser complex would make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser production with excess capacity exported to other African countries and the rest of the world.

“The key focus of Dangote Fertiliser has always been to cater to the growing fertiliser demand of the domestic market in Nigeria and also to work towards bringing a green revolution in the country so as to contribute towards food security for Nigeria. The surplus production after supplying the domestic market is exported,” he added.
Sinha stated that Dangote Fertiliser is positioned to take advantage of the Federal Government’s policy, which focuses on agriculture as one of the keys to unlock the diversification of the Nigerian economy.

“As population is increasing, food consumption is changing. Many countries’ economic progress is linked to agricultural development, which is the best form of inclusive development. For all the countries that I have been to, I can see the potential of agriculture in the entire value chain from the farm to the kitchen in Nigeria.

“Dangote Fertiliser has the potential to transform the entire African region. Definitely it will have a huge value on the country,” he added.

Sinha described Dangote Fertiliser plant as a company which will not only increase food-sufficiency in Nigeria, but also drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country through the generation of direct and indirect employment.

Economy: Manufacturers Seek Removal Of 7.5% VAT On Diesel

Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advocated the need for the Federal Government to remove the 7.5% Value Added Tax on diesel.

President of MAN, Mansur Ahmed,who spoke at the 25th Annual General Meeting of the Kaduna State branch of the association,said the removal of VAT on diesel should be pending the normalisation of the international supply system as well as resolve the complexity surrounding the seamless implementation of the eligible customer initiative in order to enable manufacturers to take of the advantage of stranded electricity.

He lamented that the impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war on the country’s economy is leading to the high cost of petroleum products, high cost of raw materials, inconsistent government policies, high regulatory compliance and inadequate infrastructure top the agenda for deliberations.

He further advised the government to create a national strategic response to the disruptive impact of the ongoing Russian – Ukraine war on the global supply value chain and its debilitating impact on Nigeria’s economy.

Ahmed explained that such a strategic response will help to identify viable options to ameliorate the negative impact of the disruption, assuage other pain points in the business environment and activate innovative solutions to familiar and emerging macroeconomic and Infrastructure challenges as well as provide a lead way for resilience in the economic ecosystem.

Expenditure On Alternative Energy Declines By N12.71bn  In Q4, 2021 – MAN

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) says  expenditure on alternative energy source dipped to N45.04 billion in the fourth quarter of last year  from N57.75 billion recorded in the corresponding half of 2020.

This indicates  N12.71 billion or 22.0 per cent decline over the period,according to
Engr Mansur Ahmed, President, MAN

Ahmed,in the association’s second half of 2021 economic report, disclosed  that electricity supply from the national grid improved in the second half of 2021.

He said  that average daily supply of electricity was stable at 11 hours and power outage, three times per day respectively.

The economy  recorded a 2.28 per cent growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2021,translating  to 3.79 per cent increase when compared with -1.51 percent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2020,he added

He  attributed the positive performance of the manufacturing sector in the period under review to the palliative measures imposed by government to salvage the sector from the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that the sector’s performance contracted by 2.01 per cent in comparison to 4.29 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter of 2021.

He added:“Nevertheless, to improve and reposition the sector back as the engine of growth, there is need to maintain those policies and formulate others that will encourage investments and boost economy growth”

He  explained that such investment would also boost the stability of exchange rate, development of local raw materials, protection of lives and property, among others.

He  said in the second half of 2021, the average cost of borrowing in the sector from the commercial banks was 24.0 per cent against 22 per cent of the corresponding half in 2020, and 19 per cent of the preceding half.

Besides, cost of capital in the sector averaged 21.5 per cent in 2021 as against 20.8 per cent of 2020.

“Consequently, cost of loanable funds maintained a key challenge to manufacturing notwithstanding the monetary easing stance of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, in Q4 2022, Nigeria’s trade value stood at N11, 707.20 billion, representing 11.79 per cent increase when compared to N10,472.42 billion recorded in the preceding quarter of 2021.

He said the development resulted to 74.71 per cent increase compared with N6701.05 billion recorded in the Q4 2020.

He added that  the country’s import value was N5940.58 billion, indicating 11.33 per cent increase when compared with N5335.86 billion recorded in the preceding quarter of 2021.

“It meant a 69.41 per cent increase in comparison with N3506.55 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2020.Similarly, the export value of N5766.62 billion recorded in the period under review revealed 12.27 per cent increase when compared with N5136.56 billion recorded in the preceding quarter of 2021,” he explained.

Ahmed  added that  the figure also showed that the export value increased by 80.52 per cent in comparison with N3194.50 billion recorded in corresponding quarter of 2020.

He  stated that there was noticeable improvement in the statistics of foreign exchange flows released by Centra Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the third quarter of 2021.

He said the situation was due to additional Special Drawing Right (SDR) allocation, proceeds from the Euro bond sales and increase in non-oil receipts.

“The 16831.30 million dollars recorded in the third quarter indicates an increase of 158.43 per cent when compared to 6512.89 million dollars recorded in the preceding quarter.It also revealed 141.45 per cent increase in comparison with 6971.01 million dollars recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

“The foreign exchange outflow dropped to 7981.37 million dollars in the third quarter of 2021 indicating 10.57 per cent decrease when compared with 8924.85 million dollars recorded in the second quarter of 2021.The decrease was due to the stoppage of sales to BDC operators by CBN.However, the data showed an increase of 14.76 per cent when compared with 6954.18 million dollars recorded in the third quarter of 2020,” he said.

Ahmed said the year 2021 provided the opportunity to redress the staggering negative impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on global, national levels.

According to him, the economy leapt from -1.94 per cent in 2020 to 3.38 per cent in 2021, just as the manufacturing sector growth increased from -2.85 per cent in 2020 to 3.37 per cent in 2021.

But, he said in spite of the improved performance of the manufacturing sector during the year, it was still far beyond its potential growth and contribution to national output due to the  challenges confronting the sector.

He advised the government to create more incentives for investment in the development of raw materials locally through the Backward Integration and Resource based industrialisation initiatives.

“We recognise an urgent need for investment and production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in the country; this should be adequately incentivised to encourage significant private investments.Government must improve ports administration and resume the implementation of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), which significantly supported export in Nigeria during the peak of implementation,” he said.

QNET Marks Nigeria Launch, Announces Major Partnership

 Global e-commerce and direct selling company , QNET Limited, has today officially marked its’ launch in Nigeria.
 The company also announced a major partnership with Transblue Limited to see the latter become QNET’s lead market partner in Nigeria.
QNET brings its global experience in both sectors to bear in Nigeria while leveraging the local footprint and network of Transblue Limited.
Speaking at the launch,Mr Biram Fall, Regional General Manager sub-Saharan Africa for QNET, said the entry of his company in Nigeria was in line with the government of Nigeria’s vision to partner with the private sector to effectively achieve the desired economic recovery and transformative growth.
The company  intends to play irs part by boosting entrepreneurship in Nigeria through our well-established global e-commerce and Direct Selling ecosystems,he also said.
He emphasized  the import of partnerships as a key pillar of QNET’s business model.
He added: “partnerships are part of our DNA, and we are delighted today to unveil our partnership with Transblue Limited. The partnership leverages Transblues’ robust market presence and local expertise to enhance customer service, provide training to our independent representatives, and facilitate faster access to our products, among other areas of collaboration.”
QNET is a global e-commerce and Direct Selling company that provides customers around the world with unique high-quality products and services while providing an opportunity for Independent Representatives (IRs) to build a sales business by promoting these products. This effectively enables IRs to retain the freedom to run a business on their own terms, with the full support of a cutting-edge e-commerce ecosystem, efficient logistics and market-leading customer service.
Also speaking,Mr Abiodun Akeem Ajisafe, Managing Director of Transblue, said: “We are excited to embark on this journey with QNET, as we are confident that our mutual strengths will help bring Nigerians a unique opportunity to generate additional income. Not only does this partnership provide access to unique, high-quality products, it also provides a business model that has been tested globally, and that is locally supported.”
Transblue is a center of excellence in Customer Service, Logistics and Compliance Management in Nigeria. The company has been at the forefront of providing businesses with freight support, advisory services and end-to-end compliance management services that expand product accessibility across Nigeria.
As part of events earmarked for the launch, QNET and Transblue embarked on their maiden Corporate Social Responsibility call to the Bab Es Salaam Orphanage in Ikeja, Nigeria, where the partners donated several items across products to the children.
Oyo Harps On Improved Industrialization

The Oyo State government has vowed to put the resources into effective use in order to expand industrialization potentials for progress and development in the state.
Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Investment and Cooperatives, Barr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye made this known while delivering his keynote address at the quarterly meeting with Oyo State Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OYCCIMA) and other organised private sectors in the state.
He explained that the purpose of the quarterly meeting is to encourage interaction among relevant stakeholders, interest groups and government with a view to ensuring a virile business environment conducive for productive investments in the State.
He disclosed  that the Ministry has put in place laudable programmes and projects targeted at revitalization of the state’s  economy which includes development of entrepreneurial skill among the youths and women and the proposed construction of Industrial Cluster within Akinyele Local Government, Ibadan in collaboration with Technology Incubation Centre (TIC) to expand the existing enabling environment in the State.
He added that the Ministry is ready  to celebrate with other African countries the “Africa Industrialization Day” on 20th November,this year.
He  admonished stakeholders and Federal agencies present to reach out to rural areas too by taking their programmes and activities to these communities that don’t put priority on social media but make use of the old analogue mode of communicating.