Product importers and manufacturers in Nigeria can now breathe a sigh of relief as the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) further demystifies the steps for product registration, reports Ugo Aliogo
The need to further demystify product registration processes and procedures in Nigeria has become inevitable, following recognition by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) of the enormous amount of money that most of the Nigerian masses lose. daily because of counterfeit and substandard products, especially the life threatening ones.
However, SON Director General Mallam Farouk Salim at a recent workshop organized by the agency for journalists on the topic “Enhanced Synergy to Promote Standardization at SON Laboratory Complex in Ogba, Lagos, noted that simplifying the registration process and procedures would go a long way in cleaning up the system from substandard and counterfeit products.
In his presentation, Deputy Director / Head of SON Product Registration Joseph Ugbaja explained the scope of product registration, its objectives, the benefits for the importer and the steps involved in product registration. .
According to Ugbaja, product registration is “a system that involves the registration of imported products adding only that the objectives are: To ensure that every product imported into Nigeria is registered and that it receives a number and a logo before being sold in Nigerian markets; Ensure that only good quality products are sold in Nigerian markets; Ensure the traceability of all products; To make sure Nigeria is not a dumping ground for substandard products and to protect consumers and make sure they get their money’s worth.
Regarding the advantages of product registration for the importer, the director of SON pointed out that it protects the importer against people adulterating its products, especially if the importer is the brand owner or the exclusive distributor. .
He pointed out that the second advantage is that the organization will easily discover other entities importing or selling the importer’s products without authorization and take legal action against the violators as the unique logo will make it difficult to counterfeit the product.
“If one of the models of a given product has a problem with consumer complaints, rather than putting all models of the product on hold, the model in question (using the logo and number) will be put on hold for that the investigation is ongoing. Said Ugbaja.
The correct steps to follow when registering a product for certification with the standards body have been outlined to include: Application, brand / model assessment, issuance of application note to importers, pay-as-you-go TSA (service charge), inspection / sampling, laboratory and issuance of product registration certificate.
Regarding the documents required before product registration, the agency listed the following; CAC registration, trademark certificate, letter of authority to distribute the products in Nigeria, application form, lab test result and proof of payment (TSA receipt).
The duration of the registration processes, according to Ugbaja, is six weeks between payment and issuance of the certificate, adding that importers do not have to go to the SON Lekki office to inquire or register their products as there are offices in ASPAMDA, Alaba, Computer Village, Ikeja / Aluminum village, Dopemu in Lagos and in every SON state office nationwide.
Regarding the difference between the product registration certificate and the product certificate, the agency explained that the product certificate is associated with the SONCAP certificate, while the product registration certificate is issued after the completion of the processes. product registration.
According to the agency, it is important to note that successful importers are usually contacted by SON when the certificate, valid for 12 months, is ready.
Regarding the difficulties encountered by the agency during registration, Ugbaja noted that some importers are unwilling to have their products tested for fear of failure / seizure while a few other importers are unwilling to have their products tested. products are registered because they want to evade any form of payment.
“As traceability remains one of the main objectives of product registration, some importers prefer to operate from hiding places and sell their products without registering them. Non-renewal of product registration by customers whose registered products have expired, ”he added.
Despite the efficient service delivery, SON says it is not relying on its oars as the upgrade of its electronic product registration portal for online registration is underway while constantly engaging electronic media and print and other stakeholders while creating information and public awareness. .
In order to combat substandard products in the market, SON has established various training centers across the country. In this regard, has equipped its training centers with modern gadgets to international standards for efficient services. SON’s training services offer a wide range of training courses to industry, consumers and its own staff.
According to the Director General, “To ensure that international best practices are established, implemented and maintained in Nigerian facilities, STS offers training on management systems: courses in various categories, namely; Principal auditors, internal auditors, principal implementers and transition.
“The training and certification unit was established in 1994. Starting with the ISO 9000 series, training was separated from certification in 2003 due to the expansion of management systems available for training and certification. . The management systems have become a separate department In 2013 midwife by the training manager. The training is on the verge of becoming an institute due to the need to focus on a larger scale of courses and collaborations under this current leadership.
Impact of training services
SON’s document reveals that its training services have done a lot to educate consumers, equip SON staff with knowledge tools, and prepare the industrial sector for present and future challenges.
Salim explained that with the planned expansion and transformation of the training unit into a training institute by this current management, SON training services will be able to provide training to more participants in more regions. of the country, noting that SON has a wealth of experience to teach. the world.
“We are running several training programs simultaneously, achieving the goal of becoming a benchmark for standards across the country. Media engagement is one of SON’s core values. We want to let members of the press represented here today know that we recognize them and value their work. We would like to employ you to help us disseminate these capacity building opportunities available in SON training services to the relevant target audience, ”said Salim.