In Nigeria and many developing countries, governments establish consumers’ agencies and regulations. These bodies and regulations set standards for manufactured goods and services, examine commodities put on sale to ensure that certain minimum standards are met or maintained, and that goods are safe for consumption. Next, we will examine some government-established standards setting consumers’ agencies in Nigeria.
The following agencies exist in Nigeria:
A. Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)
This is a body formed in 1970 and it carries out the following duties:
1. Standardises the methods and products of industries throughout Nigeria.
2. Ensures that manufacturers comply with the standardised policy of the government.
3. Establishes, designates and approves standards in respect of metrology (weights and measures), materials. structures. commodities and processes for the certification of products and commerce and industries throughout Nigeria.
4. Generally advises the federal government on the national policy on standard specification, metrology and quality control.
5. Provides necessary measures for quality control of raw materials and products in conformity with standard specifications.
6. Undertakes organic tests, investigations, and standards of reference for calibration, as necessary, into the quality of materials, facilities and products in Nigeria.
7. Establishes quality assurance system including certification of factories, laboratories, and product.
This organisation has established many standards for use in Nigeria. For instance, it has made it mandatory since 1986, that all goods. such as tinned milk, lager beer and canned fish produced should carry expiration dates.
B. The Price Control Board
This board, constituted in 1970, has a price control committee in each state of the country. The committee assists the board to achieve its objectives which include:
1. Exercising control, through selective price controls, surveillance, and supervision over the structures of basic importance in the Nigerian economy;
2. Stabilising general price levels, controlling profiteering, and containing inflationary pressures in the economy, while at the same time avoiding the use of force, thus minimising black marketing.
3. Protecting the interest of low income earners.
For these objectives to be achieved, the Board was empowered to:
1. Check the branding of goods.
2. Control prices.
3. Seize goods not in conformity with the Board’s objectives and thus liable to forfeiture; and even the Board may seal the business premises of erring businesses.
C. Food and Drug Department
This department was formed in 1974 within the ministry of health at both federal and state levels. The department is concerned with the regulation of manufactured goods, sales, and advertisement of food, drugs, cosmetics, and related items. The objectives of this department include:
1. Prohibiting the sale of any goods that:
a. has a harmful or poisonous substance.
b. is unfit for consumption by humans.
c. consists in whole, or in part, of any filthy, diseased, disgusting or rotten substance.
2. Prohibiting the sales of any good prepared under unsanitary condition.
3. Prohibiting the sales of any adulterated good to consumers.
4. Checking false advertisement of goods (foods and drugs).
5 Seeing to it that every drug, by composition, is up to required content and in the required proportion.