By Emmanuel Elebeke
THE Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) has raised an alarm on the increasing penetration of counterfeit and substandard ICT devices in the country.
The Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta made the observation in Abuja, at a stakeholders meeting on combating counterfeit and substandard ICT products in the country.
He said counterfeiting has become a growing concern that is affecting a wide range of products with negative consequences on the economy.
According to him, mobile phones are usually targeted with about 250 million counterfeits sold annually in the ICT sector.
This number, he said constitutes about 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the global mobile phone market. Apart from the obvious negative economic impact of this ugly trend on the manufacturers of genuine products, Prof. Danbatta said government and authorized dealers lose revenue, copyright, and trademark infringement. Yet, he sees it as breeding unfair competition, loss of tax, cost of compliance with applicable national legislation, national security and loss of employment opportunities.
He said the menace also poses more danger to the health and safety of consumers and at the same time breaching the privacy of consumers. “For us, we are very concerned with the negative effects on communication network operations as it concerns degrading quality of service.
“We are invited to focus our attention on the following salient issues which brought home from participants at the ITU Study Group 11 meeting and workshop on anti-counterfeiting at the ITU.”
He called for adoption of changes in legal and regulatory frameworks so as to restrict the activation of counterfeit devices on telecommunications networks and restriction on the importation of mobile devices and accessories that are not compliant to industry standards or approved with a country’s legislative and regulatory framework.
He also called the establishment of necessary global industry and authority alliances and solutions for validation of original products by authorities, consumers and sales channels.