.Senate approves N257.18bn for Customs in 2021

By Henry Umoru, ABUJA

MOVES by the Senate to prohibit the importation of fake goods into the country got boost yesterday as a bill to that effect scaled second reading.

Such fake goods targeted by the bill are unauthorized or illegally manufactured, reproduced, altered or distributed products associated with abuse of recognized intellectual property rights, such as trademark, patents, design or copyright in goods.

Among fake goods to be prohibited are counterfeited and pirated currencies, apparel, consumer electronics, automotive parts, pharmaceuticals, foods and drinks and chemicals among others.

The bill tagged “Counterfeit Goods Bill 2021” was sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun, APC, Ogun Central.

The bill after consideration was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Trade and Investments for further legislative work.

The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.

In his lead debate on the general principles of the bill, Senator Amosun said that the bill which was read for the first time on Tuesday, 6th July 2021, is a 26-Clause legislative proposal.

According to him, it provides for the prohibition of manufacturing, production, possession, and distribution of counterfeit goods.

He said, “It simplifies the process of laying complaints by persons interested in protected goods that are counterfeited and provide an enhanced enforcement capacity.

“The Bill also provides for the administration of criminal investigation; and seeks to make prosecution a lot less cumbersome so as to provide effective control of counterfeit goods in the country.

“While the Customs Service is further empowered to check and control imported counterfeit goods, the police is given the power to demand information for efficient crime prevention and prosecution “

Amosun who lamented that over the years, Nigeria has become a major destination for counterfeit and pirated goods and a significant transit route to other West African countries, said, “The growing number of counterfeit goods in the country is a major threat and challenge for businesses, consumers and the economy.

“In fact, it is difficult to put an exact value or loss occasioned by counterfeiting, as there are no accurate figures on the number of counterfeited goods, type of goods or the volume of its sales.”

Meanwhile, a bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Institute for Border Studies, Kosubosu Baruten in Kwara State, has also scaled second reading.

The bill sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (Kwara North), was referred by the Senate President to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further inputs.

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