The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has thrown its weight behind the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to introduce its Product Authentication Mark (PAM), noting that the move by the agency is germane to actualising the federal government's diversification efforts towards increasing patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods and services as captured in the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), Executive Orders 001 and 003.
The Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, explained that other countries have adopted such measures to protect their domestic market, saying that the planned introduction of PAM is part of the measures being adopted by SON to guarantee the quality of products on sale in the Nigerian market.
Abubakar stated this during a stakeholders' meeting organised by SON to introduce PAM to members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
"We shall continue to provide the necessary support needed for parastatals under our supervision to ensure their effective delivery of their mandate to Nigerians in furtherance of ERGP," she said.
She however, commended SON and National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agricultuere (NACCIMA) for organising the stakeholders' sensitisation forum, which she said serves as an avenue to receive feedback from critical stakeholders towards the smooth take off of the PAM.
"We believe that the PAM would complement the existing Nigerian quality mark (NIS), Nigeria Quality Award (NQA), MANCAP and SONCAP in ensuring that consumers are protected from the menace of substandard, cloned and counterfeited products," she said.
Earlier, the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, added that PAM is an added quality assurance mark in furtherance of its role in creating an enabling environment for diversification of the economy and SON's attempt to put control on the goods consumed by Nigerian consumers.
He stated that the major challenge hindering the sale of goods in Nigeria is the issue of cloning and faking of successful products.
In his words, "We had to think outside the box to tackle this menace headlong. Cloning has exposed the lives of Nigerians to serious health and commercial trauma. It has also discouraged a lot people from investing in Nigeria. We had to bring the PAM to harmonise the existing products we have, it is also an attempt to accelerate technological innovations in effective service delivery so that our MANCAP and SONCAP can be codified and made simpler for the consumers to identify the genuineness of a product before purchase."
The National President, NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, said standards give manufacturers a competitive edge for their products while to consumers, she said it gives confidence on the quality of the products consumed.
She said NACCIMA anticipates that the introduction of PAM would enhance the authenticity of locally manufactured goods, promote export and effectively curtail the influx of substandard products into the Nigerian market.
According to her, the PAM initiative is also another step in supporting the rising interest in healthy living through ensuring consumables meet acceptable local and international quality standards thereby stamping counterfeit products from the Nigerian markets.