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Published On: Sat, Oct 28th, 2017

How regulatory failure undermines local brands against imports

JOHNMARK UKOKO

As the entire world has become a common market, the issue of standard of local brands has become imperative, as the local brands now have to compete with their imported counterparts from the other parts of the world for attention. One of the reasons foreign brands and products appear to attract local demand and patronage more than locally manufactured products is their superior quality standard.

To ensure local brands attain high standard, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) mandated every brands to obtain its “Nigeria Industrial Standard” (NIS) logo in every locally manufactured products as an endorsement of its quality control. The agency also mandated every local brand to obtain SON’s conformity assessment product (SON CAP). This logo is a must for all locally manufacture products and also imported products to be allowed into the country.

Also, SON’s laws stipulate that locally produced products must obtain its Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MANcap) logo to show that the product is of highest quality and has met Nigerian standard.

The National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) requires all food products, drugs, water, and drinks brands consume in the country to have  NAFDAC’s logo and numbers before such brands could be consume in the country.

The same scenario applies to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) regulation which enjoined local manufacturers to have its logo in their brands to show that the brand is of high quality and meet Nigerian’s standard and as a member of the association.

However, despite these stringent regulations from different local regulatory agencies and local manufacturers’ umbrella body, substandard products still flood the country’s various markets.

Also, some brands have misleading labels in their cartons, packs, bottles or sachets to enable unsuspecting consumers to part with their hard earned money for something thing other than what they think they are buying. For instance, some consumers have complained of buying products such Milo and Peak milk in the open market only to realize later after opening them that they were something entirely different.

Such situation arose because of weak regulation by the various regulatory bodies, as many Nigerians have bought brands that promise a particular thing and deliver another thing all together.

Some Nigerians have complained that they have bought some brands which claim to have some quantity or kilograms but on getting home discovered that the quantity of the product they found was a far cry from what the label of the brand indicated.

Some local soft drink brands clamed to contains 29cl, but in reality they do not have more than 24cl in the bottle or plastic container, yet the buyers of such product will pay for 29cl amount.

Some containers of Milo, Bonvita, Nido powder milk or beverages etc, when open are three quarter full, while the buyers paid for supposedly full tins. A consumer advocate Mrs Shola Salako-Ajulo is of the view that many local brands have misleading labels which are used to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians.

Ajulo disclosed that the Consumers Protection Council (CPC) , is ill–equipped to sanction such erring brands and corporate institutions who mislead their customers, adding that many local brands have bogus claims which CPC ought to verify to ascertain the  genuineness of their claims.

“Some corporate institutions are fraudulent in the claims they put in their brands, because they know that CPC, SON, NAFDAC and other regulatory bodies in the country may not be able to find out the quantity.

See the Fanta soft drink saga, NAFDAC and SON could not find out the harmful effect the brand was given to the product’s consumers until the authorities in far away United Kingdom spoke out, yet NAFDAC has not come out to educate Nigerians.”

Ajulo said that many local brands have consistently deliberately put misleading logo in their packs or cartons because they know that the regulatory standard is still very weak in the country, as the agencies do not have enough manpower to properly ensure that every local brand deliver on its promise to its consumers.

According to her, the country’s regulatory agencies do not have men and equipment to check and sanction local corporate institutions or brands that deceive the consumers.

She added that the country’s laws are still very weak as such brands owners could put any claim they like in their logo, knowing that the agencies assigned to regulate or check their claims may not have the expertise and enough men\ women to properly carryout their tasks.

There is also the issue of corruption and compromise by such agencies whose officials seek personal gratification at the expense of national good. For instance, NAFDAC under late Prof. Dora Akunyili was a bastion of hope and performance because of the high moral standard displayed by its officials in the course of the duty. However, things seem to have fallen apart after her and one its director Generals was sacked because of corruption allegations.

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Speaking on the issues also, a consumer Mr. Edafe Iyebutemeh said that many local brands have misleading claims in their logos because the Consumers Protection Council (CPC), is not strong enough to sanction erring brands owners, who mislead their consumers, adding that such sharp malpractices is not allowed in saner climes.

Iyebutemeh however absolved CPC of blame, noting however that the agency is highly understaffed and lacks the necessary equipment to function properly, as the agency stated sometimes ago.

“CPC ought to monitor brands and sanction erring corporate institutions whose brands’ logo has misleading claims than what it truly has. But, few years ago the CPC management came out to tell Nigerians that the entire numbers of their staffs is not up to 2,000, so how do we (Nigerians) expect 2,000 to monitor all the brands in the country. That means, in some states less than 30 staff will be there including their driver, security staffs and office assistants.”

He stressed that due to weak regulatory standard and inability of CPC brands in the telecommunications have continually defraud Nigerians through unsolicited promos and even cutting their customers credit or air time without anybody able to put a stop to the practices despite the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) various warnings to the telecommunications companies.

He appealed to the government to empower CPC, NAFDAC, SON, NCC and other agencies in the country who are mandated to ensure brands in the country deliver what they have in their logo, as this is the only way Nigerians will get values for their money.

A source in the quality control department of a manufacturing firms owe it as a duty to their customers to ensure that brand offers what they claim to have in their logo. The source stressed that a serious government must ensure it protects its citizens from the hands of shylock businessmen/ women, who are only concerned with how to make money.

It’s a known fact that the country in the past three decades has become a dumping ground for substandard local and imported brands, which has led to the death of millions of innocent Nigerians who after consuming such unwholesome products.

These unwholesome products continued to find their ways into Nigerians’ home despite the efforts of SON, NAFDAC and the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS), who are empowered to rid the country of unwholesome brands.

Speaking on this worry some development, a brand expert Mr. Adeolu Johnson lamented that despite various regulatory agencies efforts to ensure all local and imported brands were of high quality, many sub-standard brands still find their way into the homes of Nigerians.

The expert who spoke last week with a select group of journalists is of the view that efforts of SON, NAFDAC, MAN and other local regulatory agencies to stem the inflow of substandard and fake products have not achieve the desire results. He cited the Fanta saga which rocked the country few months ago as a case study.

According to him, Nigeria Fanta case is still very fresh in our memory. How did NAFDAC allow that situation to happen without the agency knowing the implications of their regulatory failures on the health of Nigerians?

“NAFDAC, SON and other local regulatory agencies are failing in their mandate. Why did Fanta saga happened and NAFDAC has not come out to educate Nigerians on why the soft drinks we take in Nigeria is quite different from the quality of the ones in Europe or in America.

“The National Assembly must do all within its power to ensure it formulate laws to ensure the regulatory agencies properly carry out their functions to safeguard Nigerians. Why should people use their hard earned money to buy harmful products”.

The brands expert appealed to SON, NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies to shun sharp malpractices, by ensuring that local brands and imported ones which carry their logo and numbers were of high standard.

He also appealed to the judiciary not to be compromised by the big companies against the people who part with their hard earned money as most cases taken to the country’s courts always favour the companies, while the opposite is the case in abroad.

 

BRANDS STORIES

Unilever relaunches Pears baby cream

Household products manufacturing giants, Unilever PLC, last week re-launched Pears baby cream in an elaborate ceremony which attracted many mothers, nurses, midwives and medical practitioners.

Speaking at the occasion, Brand Manager, Mrs. Modupe Johnson said the re-launch is to ensure the brand remain fresh in the minds of mothers who have used the products for decades.

Johnson explained that mothers over the decades have come to see the product as the best brand in its category, adding that mother over the years have come to appreciate the quality of Pears baby cream product.

She said the brand is doing very well in the market because wise mothers know that the brand has no competitors, and as such called on new mothers and would be mothers to patronize the brand for their babies.

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She disclosed that Nigeria Medical Association and National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives have endorsed the brand as the best in its category due to the testimonies mothers have given about the product. The Brand Manager stressed that any mother who desire her baby’s skin to be smooth and beautiful, has to buy Pears brand for their babies.

A mother, Mrs. Mary Kunle said she has been using Pears baby cream for her babies for the past 12 years, adding that the brand is of a very high quality. She enjoined new mothers and newly wedded ladies to buy the product for their babies when they have one, adding that her four kids all used the brand when they were babies.

She explained that despite the high inflation in the country, the price of the product is still within the rich of many mothers.

“Pears baby cream is a very good brand. Despite the high inflation in the country, the price of the product is still moderate”, she said.

A dealer on the brand, Mr. Magnus Okoroh disclosed that the brand is very popular among mothers as such the product is popular in the market. Okoroh said that his many years of selling the brand has been very rewarding, and called on new mothers to buy the brand for their babies.

The product dealer stated that any mother, who desires her new baby’s skin to be beautiful, has to patronize the brand to enable their babies’ skins to shine and free of rashes and skin diseases.

Huggies brand rewards loyal customers

Kimberly Clerk West Africa Limited, is rewarding its loyal customers for their patronages over the years, in a promo aimed at rewarding any of their customers who buy its Huggies brand worth a minimum of N1,075 in its on- going promotion, aimed at saying thank you to its loyal customers.

The Brand’s Ambassador’s Miss Adejoke Jubril stated this with BusinessHallmark at the Justrite Super Stores, Ojodu, Lagos. She disclosed that any customer of Huggies of any of the sizes such as 3,4, 5 or 6 pack stands  a chance to win umbrella, bucket, carry bag, note books, and any other items.

Jubril disclosed that the promotion is her brand’s way of thanking Nigerians who have patronize it over the years, adding that every buyer is a winner as every purchase will enable the person to be rewarded with a branded gift items.

Jubril enjoined Nigerians to buy the brand to benefit from the branded gifts the brand is doling out to its loyal consumers. She said that the brand though is imported has met all the local regulatory standards, adding that Nigerians who have been using the brands over the years can attest to the high quality of the brand.

Jubril commended Nigerians for their patronage of the brand over the years, adding that the brand would continue to keep its high standard at all times.

“This promotion by Huggies is a way of saying thank you to our teeming customers across the country. The brand has various sizes, any purchase to the tune of N1,075 will entitle one to win either branded umbrella, note books, carry bags, buckets or other items,” she said.

Dettol gives free soap

Reckittbenckiser Nigeria Limited, Agbara Industrial estate, Ogun State is giving out free dettol tablet soap to those who purchase its various Dettol liquid soap in   on-going promotion.

The Brand Promoter Miss Pamela disclosed this in an interview with Business Hallmark in Lagos, said the liquid dettol soap is added for bathing water to kill all the germs in the water. Pamela said the liquid brand could be used to wash plates, toilet, and any items to totally kill all the germs, while the tablet soap is for batting.

She said her brand encourages Nigerians to do a constant hand washing to get rid of germs, adding that the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) endorsed Dettol brand as the product that destroys germs totally.

“Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) endorsed Dettol as a number one brand that kills germs. We encourage Nigerians to do a constant hand washing exercises to be free from germs.

“It is advisable to add a little dettol liquid soap to your bathing water and use dettol tablet soap for your batting to be free from all germs.

She added that Dettol goes to schools to educate and encourage pupils and students to do a regular hand washing to enable them free from harmful germs which are all over the places.

BusinessHallmark checks showed that the liquid Dettol soap packs go for N1,865, N2,630 and N6,200 for the largest pack with a free Dettol tablet soap.

 

 

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