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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

SON Introduces e-Certifcation Platform to Combat Substandard Goods

Dr. Joseph Odumodu
To combat the preponderance of fake and substandard goods in thee country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has unveiled an e-certification platform in order  to integrate the agency’s e-certificate into the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS).
The Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, explained that this move by SON is to ease trade facilitation and protect the clearance of cargoes at the port, while also seeking ways to minimise and possibly eliminate faking of SON’s certifcate.

The Director General, represented by the Executive Director, Head of Operations, SON, Mr. Sulaimon Issa, said the initiative would also create a collaborative environment for government agencies to share real time information on national security, planning and compilation of national statistics.

”Today’s occasion is for the enhancement of SON’s e-clearance processes. We are witnessing the integration of SON’s e-product certificate and SONCAP certificate which are now being tied to the relevant processes for the generation of form M and generation of PARR which are key for clearance of goods at the port,” he added.

”The integration will simplify trading, because in the past, you will need to get your manual certificate and later go to the bank, wasting man-hours. This platform is time saving and we are on the trade portal where you can see all the relevant regulations and the requirement of SON, check your certificate and also activate your certificate. In the course of generating your form M, you can also attach your certificate,” he stressed. 

He said the integration of SON’s e-certifcate is part of the sensitisation programme, saying announcements are ongoing in the media to sensitise the general public on the agency’s recent developments to safeguard lives and property in the country.

Also speaking at the event, the Comptroller, Information, Communication Department, Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Aber Benjamin, said the programme is a completion of one of the very important processes to help surmount the challenges traders undergo when bringing in imports.

“We all know that there are cases of substandard goods in the country. Obtaining certificates to show that these goods have been approved by the SON and other regulatory enforcement agencies in Nigeria is apt in the nation’s quest to address influx of substandard goods.

“If we complete this processes, every importer who goes to SON to obtain the Electronic Product Certificate (EPC) will be available on the NICIS platform where all the regulatory enforcement agencies will see and authenticate the certificate. Most of the problems we are having with imports in the country are documents that cannot be traced to their sources.”

He said with the advent of these processes, it will authenticate and give credibility to the documentation the SON, stating that the platform will help the trading public to generate their form M in the most effective and efficient manner.

”With this initiative, we are making business more difficult for people who are not complying with the standards. When we started this process in 2006, most of these processes were done manually causing a lot of confusion, but with this platform, there is no need to visit the Nigerian customs to do a declaration,” he said.

“This has now made business predictable and transparent. We are adding new processes on a continuous basis and also bringing other regulatory bodies on board so that we can have everybody on the same page to ensure hitch-free trading activities, he added.

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