The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has thrown its weight behind the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)'s plan to introduce a product authentication scheme, describing it as being in the collective interest of manufacturers and consumers alike.
President of MAN, Chief Frank Jacobs gave the assurance during a consultative meeting with the Director General of SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma in Lagos.
According to the MAN President, the introduction of such scheme to assure the quality of products on offer to consumers in Nigeria was long overdue given the negative economic effect of faking, cloning and counterfeiting, particularly on certified local products.
Chief Jacobs decried the situation where a product is supposedly doing so well in the market without its manufacturer reaping the benefits of his investment due to faking, cloning and counterfeiting, while consumers also get short changed in the process.
The MAN President acknowledged the huge responsibility that the mandate of SON confer on the organisation, particularly the need to assist local manufacturers excel on a continual basis, in order to grow the Nation's economy and provide gainful employment to its teeming youths.
He alluded to the need for all relevant agencies of government to harmonise their activities at the country's entry points in order to effectively fight the influx of substandard products into Nigeria.
Jacobs stressed that the continuous influx of substandard products into the country is negatively affecting MAN members in particular. This according to him, underscored the need for SON's active involvement in the execution of the recent Presidential Executive Orders, to assure the quality of all imports into Nigeria.
Also speaking at the occasion, MAN Director General, Mr. Segun Ajayi, said the association's members across the nation look up to SON for the provision of relevant and up to date standards.
According to him, availing the expertise of SON personnel to Nigerian Manufacturers will ensure continual improvement in the competitiveness of their products for local consumption and export.
He commended the existing robust collaboration between the two organisations which according to him, has always provided avenues for clarifying issues of mutual concern.
Speaking earlier, Aboloma, described MAN members as strategic stakeholders in standardisation and quality assurance in Nigeria, which he said, necessitated the consultative meeting at SON instance.
He disclosed that a products authentication scheme is soon to be introduced to assist consumers confirm the genuineness of products before purchase and thus have value for their money. Other advantages of the scheme according to him will include assurance to genuine manufacturers and importers of their products on sale in the Nigerian market.
The SON DG stated that the product authentication scheme will effectively fight the cloning, faking and counterfeiting of genuine products by providing necessary information to guide consumers' purchase decisions in the market.
"Without patronage, the purveyors of substandard, faked, cloned and counterfeited products would have no market for their products" he said
Aboloma stated that the organisation has engaged the services of an internationally renowned security printing outfit on the implementation of the scheme, leveraging on their vast experience in implementing similar programs successfully in many other countries.
He also disclosed that SON will soon embark on stakeholders' sensitisation on the product authentication scheme across the country to ensure that stakeholders are carried along in the implementation in line with world trade organisation requirements.
Aboloma enumerated several initiatives of SON to provide level playing field for local manufacturers and importers in line with requirements of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) of which Nigeria is a signatory.
Such initiatives according to him include, the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Program (MANCAP) to assure the quality and competitiveness of all locally manufactured products and the off-shore conformity assessment program (SONCAP) for imported products. The electronic product registration scheme is also aimed at products traceability and confirmation of quality status, he said.