NIGERIA – With the conditional approval of the Federal Government, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has returned to Nigerian seaports to take part in cargo examination, eleven years after it was fired.
Farouk Salim, the agency’s Director-General, stated that the organization was seeking cooperation from other government agencies to guarantee a smooth return to the ports, noting that Section 7(30b) of the 2015 Act gives SON the authority to be present at the port of entry into the country.
Salim stated in Abuja that the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) had instructed its area controllers to include the agency’s representatives in the joint inspection teams at the port and that the NPA had pledged to provide office space for the organization’s employees.
The agency’s presence at the port, according to the Director General, will prevent the importation of low-quality goods.
“We are supposed to ensure that the borders and the ports are monitored properly, and in doing this we protect the country from substandard goods. One such way is to make sure that the employees of SON are in the port of entries in the country, especially the Lagos port where a majority of goods come into this country.
“Our people can be efficient if we are allowed to work at the point of entry of these goods, but right now we are not allowed at the ports,” he said.
He decried the once-in-a-while permits given to SON to assess goods noting that they shouldn’t rely on other organisations’ the pity-parties to deliver on their role.
The 2015 Act Section 7(30b) says SON must be at the port of entry into Nigeria. In an effort to lower the cost of doing business in the industry, the Federal Government urged SON to leave the port in 2011.
In 2017, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo issued an Executive Order (EO) on the port’s ease of doing business that restated the sack order.
The EO mandated only seven agencies to remain in the port while SON, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) were barred to have representatives in the port or partake in cargo clearance.