SON gives cement producers 60-day deadline on labelling

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In Nigeria
Jul 22nd, 2014
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Determined to address the lingering issues in the cement industry, as well as check the incidence of building collapse, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) yesterday issued a 60-day ultimatum to cement manufacturers on product labelling and traceability requirements.

Specifically, the manufacturers are expected within the timeline, to indicate on product bags, the date of manufacture, and best-before dates; product application information, as well as the batch numbers of the products.

The cement manufacturers, including, Dangote Cement Plc, Lafarge Nigeria, Unicem, Ibeto Cement, Ashaka Cement and Sokoto Cement, agreed with SON to review the  30 days deadline earlier announced at the meeting to 60 days.

The plea for extension was to enable the manufacturers to retool and procure necessary machine to effect the changes in their processes.

The move, which is expected to enhance traceability in case of product default, also places a responsibility on cement manufacturers to ensure that their products meet required guidelines and health and safety requirements.

In addition, cement manufactures are expected to submit their advertisements and commercials for pre-approval by the SON before they are sent to the media, while processes should be initiated to ensure that products are properly stored by distributors and retailers to avoid a compromise of the product’s integrity.

At a briefing yesterday, SON Diector-General, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, noted that the agency in line with its mandate of protecting consumers from products that may harm them, has taken into consideration a lot of factors and has decided to address the growing concern.

According to him, manufacturers have an ethical role to play in ensuring that products meet consumers’ expectation and are properly applied by users.

“It is necessary to observe that none of the courts has so far made any declaration to suspend the implementation of the new standard NIS 444-1:2014. Moreover, the yawning communication gap of the last two months in the public domain regarding the sector, which is currently being exploited by the stakeholders, does not augur well for the same reasons we came up with the new standard.

He stressed the need for all stakeholders to meet in a consultative forum to address the contending issues  and to expressly declare and reaffirm the mandate of SON to regulate the sector for public safety.

Odumodu explained that it was equally needful to address issues of storage conditions and labeling which do not appear to be in contention at the courts; and as well address, respond and follow up the resolutions of the House of Representatives Special Committee on Cement and to clarify the differences between standards and technical  regulations in the context of the powers and responsibilities of the government to make regulations and to enforce them accordingly.

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