By ADAKU WALTER
…as port users seek reversal decision on SON’s exit from ports
Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Farouk Salim, has lamented the inability of agencies to track the importation of substandard goods into the country.
He stated this at a maritime stakeholders’ sensitisation forum with the theme: Standards Save Lives, Grow Economy and attributed the escalating insecurity in the country to the importation of substandard goods through the nation’s ports.
Salim lamented that restriction of access to the ports, bonded terminals and major markets was an avenue for importing arms and ammunition used in escalating insecurity in the country.
His words: “We don’t have access to bonded terminals and people use bonded terminals to import arms and ammunition, which bandits and terrorists use to fuel insecurity in the country. We also don’t have access to major markets. When our officials go to seek information, they are attacked and injured in the process. This is limiting our ability to track illicit importations.”
Salim noted that the essence of the sensitisation with stakeholders was to communicate and share views on how to make businesses more efficient.
Meanwhile, clearing agents operating at the Lagos ports have canvassed reversal of the executive decision banning SON from the ports to check the importation of substandard goods into the country.
Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr Kayode Farinto, noted that if the country must win the war against importation of substandard goods in the country, there was a need to return SON to the seaports.
Farinto, who spoke on Juxtaposing Substandard Imports: SON’s Absence At The Seaports, insisted that since the agency vacated the seaports with the Federal Government’s intention to allow its regulation outside the ports, there has been increase in the importation of substandard goods.
He said the effort of some nonconformists also showed that there was the need to reverse the executive decision, if Nigeria must win the war against the importation of substandard goods in the country, noting that if the trend was not checked urgently, it might affect the economy and the nation’s revenue generation.
Farinto said if stakeholders must achieve ease of doing business, freight forwarders and customs brokers should do away with dishonest declarations, such as concealment, and inaccurate descriptions of imports and exports, to circumvent the procedures, which he described as an impediment to achieving ease of doing business, The Trumpet gathered.
On his part, the President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Tochukwu Ezisi, who was represented by his Chief of Staff Emma Agunbaze, urged SON to engage stakeholders more, which he said, was crucial to improving accountability in the organisation and its external audiences.
He said stakeholder engagement would further ensure proper consideration of interests and commended the SON for embracing the ease of doing business in the country.