By Brendan Umoren
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) said it has seized substandard aluminium roofing sheets worth over N200 million from three aluminium companies in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The director in charge of compliance at SON, Obiora Manafa, said the seizure followed tip-off and weeks of surveillance and monitoring, according to a report published on the organization website on Monday.
The aluminium roofing sheets were found to be of a lower gauge than the 0.4mm prescribed in the Nigeria Industrial Standards NIS 488 for aluminium roofing sheets, Mr Manafa said.
Mr Manafa said the roofing sheets were smuggled into Nigeria without SON quality verification and were later tracked to the premises of the companies.
“They were brought into the country from China without passing through the SON offshore Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) to ascertain the quality before shipment,” he said.
“There are a lot of negative consequences having such aluminium roofing sheets in the Nigerian markets.
“Government is denied legitimate revenue, consumers do not get value for money, plus the unfair competition with certified made-in-Nigeria aluminium roofing sheets through low pricing.
“This unfair competition leads to low capacity utilisation by the local manufacturers, loss of jobs by Nigerians and a general downturn in the nation’s economy,” Mr Manafa said.
Mr Manafa said the three companies were cautioned and fined by SON since the standard gauge aluminium roofing sheets were also found in their premises.
He added that a joint task force has been set up by SON and the Galvanised Steel Manufacturers Association (GISMA) to fight the sales of substandard aluminium and galvanised steel roofing sheets in the country.
The Nigeria Industrial Standard prescribed 0.15mm minimum thickness for galvanised steel roofing sheets, anyone found to be below the gauge will be seized and the purveyors prosecuted, he said.
The SON director lamented the challenges involved in chasing suspected substandard and life-endangering products around the country.
The surest point to check substandard products is at the nation’s entry points where the standard organisation is neither present nor have the opportunity to carry out quality verification of all SON regulated products, he said.
Mr Manafa advised Nigerians wanting to buy aluminium and galvanised steel roofing sheets to either go with qualified engineers or go with the required measuring instrument to verify its standard thickness.