By Peter OBIORA InvestAdvocate
Lagos (INVESTADVOCATE)-The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) will in the first quarter (Q1) 2015 launch the product liability insurance to help ensure standard and protect consumers.
Joseph Ikem Odumodu, director general (DG) of the standards made this disclosure on Thursday at a world press conference as part of activities marking this year’s world standards week.
Odumodu, who also doubles as the president, African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) said the theme of this year’s event is ‘’ Made in Nigeria for the World-A Transformational Imperative’’.
He said that SON is looking forward to the next level in its operations by seeking to launch the product liability insurance early 2015.
‘’I must also say that looking forward, we are going to the next level, for example if you put a product in the market and that product for one reason or the other hurts somebody, how does that person get protection?
According to him, if a consumer uses a product and gets violated in anyway due to the usage of the product, the manufacturer will be held liable.
‘’Product liability actually by the name means I use this product and I get violated in anyway because of the way I used it, the person who made the product will pay a liability,’’ the Standards DG said.
The DG of Nigeria’s products quality regulator affirmed the launch of the product liability insurance will be done in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
‘’In the past some people took some drugs and died, those who lost their relatives did not get any compensation, though the company that manufactured the product closed down, the makers were not those who lost loved ones, and I don’t think that’s very good,’’ he added.
‘’What I’m actually saying in effect is that if you put a product in the market in Nigeria as in other countries, you must submit the product liability insurance. In the event that for any reason, an accident happens; because sometimes, you may have a good intention, you get the product to the market with all good intentions and somebody misuses that product and gets hurt, who pays for the consequential damage if there is no insurance? So, I’m sure you will begin to see also some of the other issues involved in this,’’ he said.
Odumodu disclosed that there is a bill at the National Assembly on made in Nigeria goods, which he says if passed will make a lot of difference between the locally made goods and imported ones.
The SON DG said 95 percent of imported products accounts 40 percent substandard products currently recorded in Nigeria. ‘’What does it tell you, it tells you that there is a higher risk of using a substandard product if you use an imported one,’’ he affirmed.
Odumodu says the neglect was evident in the 85 percent prevalence of substandard products in 2011. ‘’I am pleased to inform you today that our aggressive implementation of our carefully articulated 6-point agenda has in less than four years brought the substandard products incidence down to 40 percent,’’ he said.
He says the Standards laboratories in Enugu and Kaduna and Lagos have been upgraded or refurbished, and undergoing accreditation through a globally renowned accreditation body. ‘’Still, a laboratory complex is being constructed in Ogba, Lagos to accommodate 20 laboratories nearing completion. 15 more labs will be erected beside the almost completed complex. In addition, we have initiated efforts to birth the national quality policy which will direct and harmonise all technical regulations in Nigeria towards improvement of overall economic performance,’’ the SON DG added.
‘’So much has been done to stabilise what we are doing; but we are not where we want to be or where the rest of the world is, I’m not going to look for excuses when things do not go exactly the way I want them, rather what I do is a critical appraisal and I have done so and my conclusion is simple and its borne out of the global reality that all hands must be on deck to pull us out of the woods and join the global standards table. And of course standards go beyond an organisation or a person,’’ Odumodu said.