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By NBF News
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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has set up consumer compliant desks in major markets across the country to check substandard products. Dr Joseph Odumodu, Director General of SON, disclosed this on Tuesday in Lagos that the desks would begin operations in the first week of August.

Odumodu said that the desks were necessary to guide consumers in procuring quality products and to lodge complaints when substandard products were purchased. He said that SON decided to take proactive steps to drastically reduce the influx of substandard products into the country.

'It's imperative to employ this method to check the influx of substandard products into the market to save the economy and local industries from collapse,' he said. He said that leaders in major markets would now serve as guarantors when such products were being tested.

According to him, importers now have the opportunity to remove their containers from the ports to ware houses pending the outcome of tests on their products.

'The initiative is to remove the bottlenecks associated with the stacking of containers at the ports pending when the contents would be examined.

For instance, it has been observed that 80 per cent of substandard electric bulbs come in monthly. The trend, if not checked, will continue to impoverish the citizens and deny them the value of their money as such it must stop,' he said.

He said that SON had already concluded arrangement to destroy 13 containers loaded with substandard products worth millions naira. 'It's disheartening that any time such substandard goods are being destroyed or burnt, we are burning Nigerians hard earned money.

'The reason while SON, under my leadership, is not keen in destroying products is that anytime a product is destroyed, Nigerian's wealth is affected.

As far as am concerned our objective is not do destroy products, but our focus is to ensure that the man that brings in a bad product, knowingly or unknowingly, will take it back to where the product came from.

'I am sure that that country will stop sending such products to our country,' he said.

He reiterated that SON also had the mandate to grow the economy by protecting local industries. We can only achieve such target by removing substandard products that are competing unfairly with the local products.

If that happens, our industry will grow employment and skill acquisition as well,' he said

Odumodu said that the volume of substandard products in the market was high because consumers were not reporting such cases to the regulatory agencies.

He said that importers were now being made to pay deposits on containers in case the contents were substandard.

'The levies are N250, 000 for light danger products and N350, 000 for life threatening products. These levies were established before I came in and the policies are only been implemented currently to tackle the menace,'

He said 'The levies will be used to destroy products that failed tests. We cannot continue to use tax payers'