The National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Increase Uche has called on those calling for the scrapping of the Standards Organization of Nigeria’s Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) to provide an alternative as nature abhors a vacuum.
It will be recalled that a former National President of NAGAFF, Dr. Eugene Nweke had in a chat with newsmen in Lagos recently called for the scrapping of SONCAP arguing that it is no longer in tune with the reality on the ground even as he contended that the programme is anti-trade.
However, speaking in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos on the matter, Dr. Uche pointed out that the call was immature and lacked substance adding that “If somebody is calling for the scrapping of a given policy and you are not suggesting an alternative; that means you are building castles in the air.”
He noted that he had not seen anything wrong with the implementation of SONCAP other than to encourage the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to be more pushful, more proactive and ensuring that all the laid down procedure was followed.
He said, “We were all part of the enactment of the policy guideline on SONCAP and we have been following it. So, what we need to do because Nigeria cannot continue to be a dumping ground, the industry stakeholders need to support SON. They are trying their best, today, they are not even at the ports which is another lacuna created by the government. We know the politics that brought about the withdrawal of SON from the port and of course, recently, we have seen the repercussion of SON not being at the port.
“So, there is a need for all hands to be on deck to support SON until we have an alternative to SONCAP. For now, we don’t have an alternative, SONCAP is still working and it is still the solution to some of the issues.
“What I will only advise is that SON should take charge, ensure that those abuses that are inherent like the issue of obtaining China SONCAP must be blocked so that at the instance of opening Form M, there should be a genuine presentation of Product Certificate and the Product Certificate you presented must reflect the actual cargo you intend to bring and once you are bringing in any shipment, it must be accompanied with your SONCAP certificate of that particular shipment and ensure that there is conformity. The PC content of what you have declared must tally with the final SONCAP certificate that you produce at the end of the day.”
On what the motive of those calling for the scrapping of SONCAP was, the NAGAFF President suggested, “Let them give us an alternative. What do they want SON to do at this very level? In every country of the world, there is always a standards organization that must be there to set standards and SON at this moment; this is what they are looking at.”