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20,000 steel manufacturing jobs under threat over importation



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No less than 20,000 workers face loss of job if the current menace of importation of substandard roofing materials is left unchecked by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, the product manufacturers have said.

Local manufacturers under the aegis of Galvanised Iron and Steel Manufacturers’ Association, (GISMA), said SON had remained insensitive to their decades of complaints over the importation of substandard galvanised roofing sheets into the country.

The GISMA threatened that its members planned to sack about 20,000 workers, as they could no longer sustain their businesses due to the importation trend, lamenting that most Nigerians use the imported sheets which are not good enough, thereby crippling locally made roofing sheets customized to the country’s weather conditions.

“It is saddening that the nooks and crannies of the country are flooded with substandard roofing sheet products. We are aware that SON held a press conference last week and unveiled its successful seizure of substandard aluminum sheets worth over N200 million from various aluminum companies in Uyo.

“SON in its address further confirmed that the minimum thickness of aluminium roofing sheets is 0.4mm. The substandard products with the quality of 0.25mm were however imported into Nigeria at the detriment of unsuspecting members of the public,” said Lateef Bello, spokesman of GISMA.

Bello however condemned SON over its attempt to divert the attention of Nigerians away from its responsibility of providing holistic atmosphere for steel and iron manufacturers stressing that aluminium roofing sheet is a smaller fraction of the total market.

Bello said, “SON has been silent about the illegalities going on in the endemic smuggling of galvanised plain and coloured roofing sheets in Nigeria. While we commend SON for the efforts made in the seizure of the goods, we are categorically requesting that names of perpetrators of such unpatriotic acts should be made public in order to reflect transparency and accountability in their operation. It is our expectation that SON should censor some of its officials suspected to be collaborating with smugglers of substandard products by mounting surveillance and detective operational techniques across its branches nationwide.

“Importation of substandard products is tantamount to waging war against the Federal Government’s policies of discouraging the supply of illicit items capable of causing havoc and short-charging the citizenry. Sparing anyone involved in this dastard acts amounts to aiding and abetting corruption and exposing the nation to ill-infrastructural deficit and challenges.”