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SON is inefficient, MAN tells Buhari

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised the federal government to re-examine the mandate of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

The association made this recommendation on the premise that substandard goods have flooded the Nigerian market despite statutory fees paid to the SON.

MAN had, on Wednesday, paid an advocacy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja.

“SON is the sole agency saddled with the responsibility of ensuring only legitimate products are allowed into Nigeria,” it said in a document made available to TheCable where the submissions made to the president were listed.

“Unfortunately, presently in Nigeria, there are multibillion-naira value of various substandard products freely being traded in Nigerian markets and causing the collapse of many Nigerian industries.

“It is the statutory operating standard of SON to issue Product Certificate (PC) to Offshore Exporters to Nigeria for a Fee in order to confirm standards of products being exported into Nigeria and also issue Standards Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Program (SONCAP) to the importer for a Fee to validate that products being shipped meet NIS Standards.

“Despite the payment of these statutory fees by Offshore Exporters and Nigerian importers, Nigerian markets today are increasingly dominated by substandard imported products constantly sabotaging the economy and running down many industries such like Textile, Tyres, Cable and recently Steel.

 

Using aluminium products as an example, MAN alleged that aluminium with thickness as low as 0.25mm are being imported while the approved minimum thickness for local manufacturers is 0.40mm.

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“Similarly, the approved minimum thickness for aluminium profile manufactured in the country is 1mm whereas imported profiles with gauges as low as 0.7mm thickness have flooded the markets,” the document signed by Mansur Ahmed (pictured), MAN president, said.

“These unfair trade practices are having a devastating effect on aluminium manufacturers, as many have shut down operations with others on the waiting wing.”

The association also said that it has sent a list of 93 items to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to add to the list of items banned from accessing forex.

On the proposed increase of value-added tax, the association said: “We are concerned that any increase in VAT at this period when household consumption is barely recovering will have a depressing effect on the economy at large.

“VAT directly limits the purchasing power of consumers and their choice of products; creates a greater market for smuggled goods; lowers consumption; decreases capacity and production frontier of the economy; and may lower government revenue.”

MAN advised that the Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS) put in place a structure that will take more taxes from the poor by increasing VAT on luxury goods.

Source: The Cable Ng

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