*Call for strengthening of legal frame work
By Moses Nosike
For Nigerian economy to adequately grow and deliver desired results, experts, stakeholders, industry practitioners are clamouring for a total clamp down on counterfeit products either produced or imported into the country, without which legitimate jobs will continue to be at risk.
At the World Anti Counterfeit day held in Lagos, stakeholders in both private and public sectors agreed that until government and other players in the Nigerian business environment push hard against the inflow of counterfeiting, the economy would remain under threat.
According to the chairman, Anti Counterfeit Collaboration Nigeria (ACC), Mr Desmond Opeyemi Adeola, “we align with other stakeholders and collaborate with BASCAP, INTA, GACG, INTERPOL, WCO, US Chamber of Commerce, NIROPHARM to oppose and condemn the notorious transnational trade in counterfeiting that has become a global menace. “A recent report by ICC and BASCAP indicated that counterfeiting is projected to drain $4.2T from global economy and put over 5.4 million legitimate jobs at risk by 2022. The report also revealed that Nigeria is one of those countries increasingly become a target destination and significant transit route for counterfeit and pirated products.”
Adeola said that the consequences of this is that the Nigerian economy is at risk if proper measures are not taken on time as trade in counterfeits creates an underground economy that deprives government of revenue for vital public services, forces higher burdens on tax payers, dislocates hundreds of thousands of legitimate jobs and exposes consumers to dangerous and ineffective products that ultimately threatens to damage the equity and consumer confidence in the legitimate brands being counterfeited.
“It is important to also point out that an effective policy for intellectual right protection including anti-counterfeiting measures is strongly required to achieve a better ranking in the ease of doing business in Nigeria. ACC today, lends his voice to that of our partners in calling for closer government attention and improved government support towards combating the menace of counterfeiting. We call for a speedy drive towards legal reforms and strengthening of the legal frame work as the current laws has virtually no deterrence value and offers little as a barrier against counterfeiting hence the legislative arm of government have a key role to play. We also commend the ongoing efforts of SON, NAFDAC and CPC in driving enforcements and we use this opportunity to call for improved training, capacity building and inter agency cooperating.
“The Anti Counterfeiting Collaboration, Nigeria a non-political, non-governmental, non-profit making coalition which was conceived in 2006 aimed at bringing brand owners, enforcement agencies and interested parties together to form an effective ‘opposition party’ against counterfeiters, infringers and pirates in Nigeria”, Adeola said.
“We must play our part in making Nigeria an enabling environment for talent development and expression, a very attractive destination for investment and above all a successful nation”.