Why SON Shouldn’t Return To Seaports, Ex-NAGAFF President Tells Stakeholders

Former NAGAFF President, Eugene Nweke



A former president, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Eugene Nweke, has kicked against recent calls by stakeholders for Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), to return to the nation’s seaports.


Stakeholders on Thursday, called for return of SON to the seaports, saying that will end influx of substandard goods imported into the country.


But, in a swift response, Dr Nweke said, SON had been unable to strike balance between core quality standard, regulatory obligations and revenue.


According to him, SON, as a regulatory agency shouldn’t compete with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on revenue generation, saying Nigeria should inquire why substandard goods are only dumped in Nigeria’s shores and not neighboring countries’ shores.


He said, “My emphasis being that, the SON non participation in physical examination or as christened, non presence in the port has little or nothing with the influx of the substandard goods into the ports. The SON should be bold to confront their fears for the sake of the nation, and stop playing to the gallery.”


‘When a standard regulatory agency tilts or fails to strike a balance between its core quality standard regulatory obligations and revenue obligations, one will be achieved greater at the detriment of the other obligations. Most of the regulatory agencies should stop emulating the Customs, Customs core obligations is revenue generation and to curb activities that limits it from achieving bumper revenue generation, hence, anti smuggling operations.”


Nweke, explained that reasons why sub-standard cargoes were not shipped to neighboring countries were because shipping companies are penalised for bringing in substandard cargoes.


He stated further that Nigeria must have a national shipping policy that must be obeyed by foreign shipping lines operating and wishing to do business in the country.


“Ever wondered , how comes the shipping lines deliver only standards trade goods to other neighboring west Africa countries ports? you think it is because of the compliance nature of the trading public? Certainly not,” he answered.


“Their countries trade & shipping policies are explicit. Goods coming into their country ports must meet the national quality specifications, failing to do so, the shipping lines will be penalized, and in most instances, the shipping lines are made to ship back the goods to the origin port at its expenses.”


“It is a national shipping law and must be obeyed by any shipping lines wishing to do business with their country. Have you also noticed that goods which final destinations is Nigeria but trans-shiped to any of the west Africa countries are adequately monitored at stripping and devinning operations, just to ensure that, not even a product carelessly enters the street , talk less of the market overt.”


“NESREA at inception achieved such feats. Our product quality standards must remains our national standard, no compromise to it, as evidence both in policy application and in practice. The SON knew too well that, it’s greatest challenge stems from its lack of regulatory control over the shipping lines.


“The Nigeria shipping environment is one that accommodates foreign shipping lines to float an association and collaborating with politicians ( even electing them into their board) to advance but purely their business interests especially those that falls short of international practices cum compromises.


You may appreciate the ongoing , high degree of extortion in the shipping industry, however, shipping industry is not the import of this modest reaction. One will have expected that, the SON other than accusing the Customs NICIS 2 as the cause of its non achieving desired quality regulatory objectives, should partner with the Customs and fashion out a Container Security Initiative – CSI as obtain in other importing climes.”


“America, Britain, South Africa, and many other countries do import from china as well, but signed up into a CSI known as the Advance Manifest Rule (AMR) aka Automated Manifest System ( AMS) with the China/Shipping line. Six rules are involved, one of such rules state that, carriers will have to transmit cargo declaration to the nation’s Customs Authority at least 24 hour prior to commencement of loading operations at the port of loading.


“After documentary check by Customs and other regulatory agencies, the Customs will notify the carrier of those shipment that are permitted to enter the nations respective port of discharge. This is my strong position on this important issues of the tinflux of substandard products into our country. We must resolve to do something entirely different from the usual.



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