By Prince Okafor
The American Business Council, ABC, has said that the Federal Government lost much of its expected revenue to the activities of counterfeiters, stressing that an increase in collaboration between private sector and the government as well as improved regulatory environment, will further encourage more investments into the country.
The ABC is the voice of American Businesses in Nigeria and the affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce. The Council has member companies in sectors including Global corporate brands in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector.
Speaking during the ABC-FMCG media parley in Lagos on how Nigeria can become the West African Manufacturing hub, the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Secretary, Margaret Olele said: “Both local and foreign firms were affected by the activities of counterfeiters. Government also loses a lot of revenue that could have been generated from tax when firms performed well in the economy. More foreign investment can come from the confidence that clear Intellectual Property, IP, laws engender.”
Members of the Council noted that the federal government has a considerable commitment in improving regulatory reforms especially at the Agency levels and are responsive to requests from private sectors for amendments of policies and guidelines that may impinge the slow but steady growth of the manufacturing sector.
Also, the Marketing Manager, Kimberly-Clark, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oluwakemi Saliu, said that Nigeria offers considerable opportunity to FMCGs given the increasing number of consumers in the country, and therefore it is important to address the issue of counterfeit and parallel trade.
He stated: “Local manufacturers employing local people to produce local goods are undermined when parallel imports enter the country. At Kimberly-Clark, we are responding to consumer needs with innovative product offerings including miniaturized items to cater for different market segments and by addressing the needs of the Nigeria market”.
On his Part, Chief Operating Officer, Tolaram Group, Girish Sharma stated that the company have diversified its offerings and has embarked on an expansion drive and will invest N20 billion in Nigeria after its N10 billion initial investment in the country.
The Parley session highlighted the need to have a more laser focus on IP issues, Counterfeits and Parallel Trade which impact government tax revenues and are deraillers to Nigeria’s growth aspiration as a West African hub.