Curbing Substandard Products

THE threat posed by substandard products to public health, safety, and economic growth in Nigeria today calls for urgent attention. Although, the issue of substandard products has been with us in the country for a long time, it has assumed a dangerous dimension lately as some manufacturers and importers have continued to reduce the qualities of their products, claiming they are not making profit due to production cost and the current inflation in the country.

 SUBSTANDARD products of all categories of items ranging from drugs, electrical, electronic, household appliances, building materials, tyres and tubes, automobiles, machines, spare parts, to food find their way to our markets through these manufacturers and importers.

Regulatory bodies like Nationa; Agency for Food and Drug Adminisrtattion and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the likes, have continued to warn manufacturers and importers of substandard products against jeopardizing consumers’ health.

IN addition to issuing public alert on products found to be substandard or falsified and destruction of some of them, NAFDAC has continued to engage stakeholders for the purpose of sensitisation and enlightenment. In one of such engagements held recently in Akure, Ondo State  capital, a Director in NAFDAC, Dr. Charles Nwachukwu warned manufacturers especially bakers to desist from substituting expensive manufacturing materials with cheaper ones that could be detrimental to consumers’ health. Dr. Nwachukwu disclosed that since the price of sugar went up, NAFDAC discovered that many bakers had been using sweeteners in their bread as alternative to sugar because it was affordable and when they put a little in the bread, it spreads a lot.

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In December 2023, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye disclosed that the organisation intercepted and destroyed drinks worth N750,000,000 in Abia after a tip off. Also, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is actively involved in import inspection of goods and quality assessment at the ports and through her activities on the SINGLE-WINDOW platform.

THE importance of this exercise is enormous, considering the economic and health/safety implications of influx of substandard goods into the country. SON has established her presence in virtually all the seaports, land borders, airports and Nigeria States’ Capital. It also has  offices in states to ensure that there are no life-endangering products and services in the nooks and crannies of states and continued to get court orders to destroy substandard products whenever they got wind of it.

The consequences of substandard products are far-reaching and severe. Consumers are at  the risk of harm as these products often fail to meet safety standards or contain hazardous materials.

THE  health sector bears more of the brunt of this crisis, as counterfeit medicines pose a grave threat to public health. Additionally, substandard products undermine the credibility of Nigerian industries, resulting in reduced competitiveness and stagnation in economic growth. As a matter of fact, with the current economic situation in the country, Nigerians are suffering double jeopardy as prices of items are skyrocketing day by day while the qualities are reducing. They now pay more for less quality products.

IF the fight against substandard products must be won in Nigeria, Nigerian government must provide adequate resources and authority to the regulatory agencies i.e SON and NAFDAC since they play a crucial role in monitoring and enforcing quality standards.

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The Hope calls for strict penalties and legal consequences on manufacturers and importers of substandard products to serve as a deterrent to others.

WE also urge manufacturers and importers to make quality their watchword and ensure that Nigerians get value for their money. They should also realize that manufacturing or importing substandard products is tantamount to economic sabotage and will also make people lose confidence in their products and force them out of the market. More pathetic is the fact that substandard products are inimical to our health, safety and economic growth. So there is a need for all stakeholders to come together and urgently reverse the ugly trend.

Curbing Substandard Products

On poverty and palliatives in Nigeria

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