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THE Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has said Nigerian manufacturers must improve on their products to maximise opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Farouk Salim, Director-General of SON, who stated this at the organisation’s capacity building workshop for journalists in Lagos, said that as the AfCFTA commences, other African countries have set up standard protocols, which Nigerian producers need to comply with to make their goods favourable for exports, adding that it is the mandate of the SON to make it possible.

“We’ve done enough enforcement, discussed how to stop all these things that are entering our country.

“We are working assiduously both within, outside, and underground, to improve activities of the organization so that it can serve the country better,” he said.

He added that it is the responsibility of SON to make sure that goods in the country are up to standard, citing that governments should make sure that there are consequences and sanctions against any products or persons producing substandard products.

He specifically said: “We have to make sure that manufactured goods, building materials are up to standard because in case of collapsed buildings, hundreds of people lose their lives.

“So, as an organisation, we know the weight of our responsibility and the job of the journalist is to keep us on our toes to do the needful”.

Salim, who emphasised that AfCFTA is a trade agreement between African Union (AU) member states with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union, said efforts are being made to improve standard of products and eliminate substandard goods in the country.

“We are working assiduously both within, outside and underground, to improve activities of the organization so that it can serve the country better,” he said.

“This is very important, because we have the new African free trade, where goods will be crossing borders without too much hindrance.

“So what that means for our country is, if our manufacturers are not producing standard goods, they will not cross over to the other countries, because other countries will set standards too and they will expect goods coming to their countries to be up to standard.

“So it is our responsibility as the SON to make sure our goods in this country are up to standard. We must make sure that substandard goods in the markets decrease.

“Governments should make sure that there are consequences and sanctions against any products or persons producing substandard products.

“We have to make sure that manufactured goods, building materials are up to standard because in case of collapsed buildings, hundreds of people lose their lives.”

The SON boss urged journal in sensitising the public on the dangers of substandard products. ists to improve their publications.

“This is very important because we have the new African free trade, where goods will be crossing borders without too much hindrance.

“So what that means for our country is, if our manufacturers are not producing standard goods, they will not cross over to the other countries, because other countries will set standards too and they will expect goods coming to their countries to be up to standard,” he added.

It would be recalled that Mr. Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, revealed that the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) would save the continent the sum of $5 billion annually when operational.

He revealed that the project being developed in partnership with the African Export-Import Bank (Afriexim Bank), would be ready by the end of 2021.

He further stated that the system would address the currency conversion challenges for participating countries and create a low cost and risk-controlled payment clearing and settlement system under intra-African trade, adding that Nigeria and five others have signed up for the pilot scheme.


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