The Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma, has said that the agency's newly introduced Product Authentication Mark (PAM) will raise the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products and boost the country's economic diversification drive from oil to non-oil sector and check substandard products.
The PAM is a mark of quality fixed on all finished products to demonstrate their conformity to approved standards. It is issued as a sticker with security features and QR code which can be scanned by a smart phone. It is applied on each product to ensure traceability and tracking of imported and local products.
Speaking at a stakeholders forum on PAM in Lagos yesterday, Aboloma said PAM would reduce counterfeiting of products which had become a clog in the wheel of the progress of local manufacturers, adding that it was one of the federal government's initiatives targeted at improving the business
"We started it because counterfeiting is an age-long menace that has burdened us, leading to the influx of substandard goods in Nigeria. It also makes it difficult for local manufacturers to be competitive," the said.
"It is our opportunity to deploy technology and authenticate products shipped into the Nigerian market," he said.
Certain items such as food products, drugs, and machineries of manufacturers, among others, are exempted from PAM, which will tentatively take effect on February 1, 2018.
According to Acting Director, Product Certification, SON, Tersoo Orngudwem, the PAM was important to manufacturers as it would enable them to sell their products and easily trace them in the market.
Orngudwem said the agency's initiative would reduce the cost of changing logos while ensuring that consumers buy products that gave them value for their money.
On his part, DG of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera, said his agency supported the PAM as it would protect consumers from buying counterfeits and cloned products.
Irukera said people were dying in Nigeria due to substandard products in the market but added that the new initiative of SON would help reduce that to the barest minimum.
"I believe that the federal government should declare a state of emergency on the counterfeiting sector," he stated.
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Jacobs, commended SON for the initiative, underlining some of the benefits they would derive from it.
"We are aware that this mark will further improve patronage of made-in-Nigeria products, clearly identify original products, further safeguard the health of consumers, provide unambiguous means of authentication and heavily reduce grey trade activities such as smuggling and counterfeiting," Jacobs said.