SON shuts aluminium firm over substandard gauge
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria has shut the warehouse of a Lagos-based Chinese firm, named, Three Friends International over importation of low-gauge aluminium coils into the country.
The Head of Inspectorate and Compliance, SON, Mr. Bede Obayi, who led a team with a task force and aluminium stakeholders to an enforcement exercise in Lagos on Thursday, said the company would remain shut because it had failed to meet the minimum requirement of the Nigerian Industrial Standards, which is put at 0.4 millimetres.
Obayi pledgeds that SON would not rest on its oars until it had rid the country of substandard products.
He said, “We are here with the task force and aluminium stakeholders. It is our routine function going from one company to another to ensure they comply with the directives given to us in 2010 to conform to the minimum requirement of the Nigeria Industrial Standards for aluminium roofing sheets which is NIS 487 and 486 of 2010.”
He said the company also used quality plain coil of about four layers to cover low gauges coated coils.
In the industry, it is known that the variation in duty payable between plain and coated colour made the unscrupulous importers to indulge in sharp practices, to evade such duties.
“We should be mindful of the fact that what the consumers want is commensurate with the value of products they are getting; so that they are not cheated, “he said.
He advised importers and marketers to give consumers the right product at the right quantity and quality.
“Your 0.50 mm should be 0.55mm. My reaction to this is that anybody that wants to buy aluminium roofing sheet must ensure that they go through the right source that has the expertise to measure the standard of the product, and if they do not meet the standards, we would seize the product,” he said.
According to him, SON is prepared to seize any aluminium roofing sheet that falls below 0.4 millimetres. He, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to give relevant information whenever they suspected any company or individual to have been involved in illicit businesses.
Obayi said, “We rely on information because this is the only way we can reach your calls. We are going round the country because it is a nationwide exercise, we are moving from one state to the other and from one ware house to the other.
“This is the beginning of 2013 and we need to ensure that the order given to importers and manufacturers in 2010 is complied with throughout the whole country. We are going to the East, West and every other part of this country. We are calling on Nigerians to let us know when they suspect any roofing aluminium sheets that are substandard, they should call on us immediately, because we must ensure that the quality of the product is maintained.”
In another enforcement exercise, SON and the aluminium stakeholders went to BOZAC Continental, a leading importer of aluminium coils. It, however, commended BOZAC for meeting the minimum requirement set for aluminium roofing sheets in the country.
Obayi said this was the way to go if Nigerian importers and manufacturers wanted any development in the country.
“We have gone through the factory to inspect close to about 500 aluminium coils in the factory and took random samples and we are impressed with the standards, they all met the minimum requirements,” he said.
He, therefore, called on other importers and manufacturers to emulate BOZAC continental maintaining that this is the only way Nigeria can combat substandard products in the country.
“All we have to do now is talk to the management of BOZAC Continental and other importers about labelling to ensure that what is given by the manufacturers is what the consumers get. What we have seen in the measurement is that the minimum standards have been complied with. We have seen situations, where these perpetrators went down to 0.26mm, which is as light a writing pad. During rainy seasons, they fall of with the impact of a small wind. We are also looking at the colour because whatever colour you buy must the same colour after three months, one year. We have occasions where things like this happen and it must stop, he stressed.
The Director, BOZAC Continental, Mr. Okechukwu Anolue, said he was very happy with the visit of the SON team, adding that manufacturers and importers were working together for the country’s progress.
He assured SON of his cooperation, saying that he would alert other importers and manufacturers and also give SON the necessary information needed to battle the menace of substandard products in the country.