By John Ndibe
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has issued a three-month ultimatum to steel manufacturers and distributors to clear out substandard steel bars out of the nation’s markets.
Malam Farouk Salim, Director-General, SON, made the disclosure during an emergency meeting at the SON complex, Ogba, Lagos.
According to Salim, the ultimatum and future enforcement are to ensure an improved quality of steel products.
He advised the steel manufacturers and marketers in the country to comply to the directive, stressing that failure to do so would result in prosecutions and serious jail time for offenders.
Salim said the agency would commence full-scale enforcement and mopping of substandard steel in factories and market at the expiration of the three-month ultimatum.
He said that culpable persons would face immediate prosecutions in line with the law.
The director-general who condemned the recent spate of building collapse across the country, said it was a big blow on the nation, especially the construction industry which the steel sector belongs to.
Salim said the consequences of these disasters were deeply troubling and the onus was on SON to get to the root cause of the issue with a view to finding a lasting solution.
He said both manufacturers and distributors have been given two months to form associations for self-regulation and organise ways of articulating industry challenges to ensure strict compliance.
“The association is also charged with rooting out their members especially those engaging in such inimical acts.
“The African Continental Free Trade Agreement which legally took effect from January 2021 means that our borders are open and any substandard product sold may be rejected thereby hindering economic growth.
“So, we have to do all we can to ensure that it does not play out that way and our products are trusted within and outside the shores of this country,” he said.
Salim reiterated that SON’s mandate is to foster trade and economic growth and not to impede it.