Exporters deny using other countries’ labels to prevent rejection

Nigerian exporters have denied allegations that they forge ‘country of origin’ and use labels of neighbouring West African countries on their goods to avoid rejection of their exports by European countries.

This followed the allegation that Nigerian exporters sometimes tamper with the label of Nigerian products just for their exported items to be accepted in European countries.

The Trumpet recalled that last week, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, confirmed that some Nigerian exporters bypass the agency to re-label their products.

She lamented that exporters were boycotting regulatory procedures and that all the food products rejected abroad never went through the scrutiny of either NAFDAC or the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS).

She raised the alarm that about 76 per cent of the country’s products were rejected by the EU and that NAFDAC was being informed through the rapid alert systems that the products have been rejected.

Also confirming the rejection and stereotyping of Nigerian exports, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, recently urged the British government to address the issue.

Bello-Koko told the UK Minister for Export, Mike Freer, who visited Nigeria on trade facilitation that the wrong profiling of Nigerian exports was borne out of the country’s preconceived hostile perception and that it was not based on the quality of exports from Nigeria.

On her part, the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Olufunmilayo Olotu, advocated that exports from Nigeria should not be treated with any reputational bias to enable the country to earn recognition and value for its trade initiatives in the UK.

During a visit to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Export Park in Lagos, some exporters frowned on the allegations of the adoption of foreign labels.

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Assistant Manager of the export park, Ambali Ajiboye, said Nigerian exporters do not use foreign labels, adding that only products imported into the country have their labels changed to “Made-in-Nigeria labels.”

Ajiboye pointed out that exporters at the ECOWAS Park only export Nigerian industrial packaged products such as beverages, Nigerian-made diapers, processed foods like Semovita, noodles and others to over 13 African countries under ECOWAS.

According to him, it will be very difficult to change the labels of these products because they are known brands with some having peculiar Nigerian packaging.

The Assistant Park manager hinted that exporters don’t have issues at the border, adding that they currently use only the Seme border to export goods due to the initial closure of the Idi-Iroko border in Ogun State, but upon reopening, he promised to resume export activities soon at Idi-Iroko.

Also speaking, Vice President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), John Aluya, stated that export goods could only be rejected when they do not conform with required specifications.

While noting that some Nigerian products were the best in the world, he urged relevant government agencies to do more without compromising standards to avoid rejection of the products.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, who confirmation that Nigerian products were often rejected, inaugurated a committee last week to examine and end the rejection of Nigeria agro produce in the international market, which had led to huge financial losses with its attendant negative impact on the supply value chain and jobs creation.

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