13 August 2014

Nigeria: SON Gets Seven-Day Ultimatum to Reverse Stand On Cement Classification

A human right group, Alliance Against Monopoly (AAM), has issued a seven days ultimatum to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to rescind its 60-day ultimatum issued earlier to cement manufacturers to comply with its directive on product labeling and traceability requirement.

The president of the group, Mazi Omife Omife, said SON did not mean well in its ultimatum to cement manufacturers and warned that it will seek legal redress against the organisation if it fails within seven days to reverse its earlier stand.

Omife noted that the group's demand for the reverse of the stand is predicated on two grounds. He gave the non-feasibility of the 60-day ultimatum given as the first reason, arguing that most cement manufacturers will need at least six months to retool their machinery to be able to meet SON's labeling and traceability requirement. He stated further that contrary to what SON made it to be, the labeling and traceability requirement should not be open ended.

To this end, the association argued that the government agency should have emphasised only three key factors; manufacturing date, best before date and batch number.

He said: "The 60-day ultimatum given to cement manufacturers by SON was pre-dated by the ill-advised policy on cement standardisation which attempts to, through the back door, introduce unwholesome monopoly in an otherwise clement cement industry in Nigeria".

He however conceded to the regulatory body its right to carry out its statutory duties in the manner that it deems appropriate, but frowned at, what he termed, "the organisation's attempt to create division in the cement industry and enthrone monopoly in a most unconscionable manner".

Giving further insight into his Group's latest stance on the cement crisis Omife disclosed that the Alliance Against Monopoly (AAM), "after careful examination, has come to the inescapable conclusion that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is not well intentioned in its latest guideline to cement manufacturers which gave a 60-day ultimatum to the manufacturers on product labeling and traceability requirement".

He further explained that his group's action was predicated on the need to always ensure a level playing field for all cement manufacturers in Nigeria.


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