$15billion Lost Annually To Counterfeit ICT Devices
• NCC Seeks Concrete Measures
Following the discovery that about $15billion and $554 million are lost annually in sales and taxes on counterfeit and substandard Information and Communication Technology, (ICT) globally, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) has called for the adoption of concrete measures to fight the menace in the country.
Acting Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Dambabtta, who made the call in Abuja at the Stakeholders meeting on Combating Counterfeit and Substandard ICT devices, noted that counterfeiting is a growing economic problem affecting wide range of products.
He added that in the ICT sector, mobile phones are especially targeted with about 250million counterfeits sold annually saying that the number constitute about 5 to 20 percent of the global mobile phone market.
Dambatta said that apart from the negative economic impact of the ugly trend on manufacturers of genuine products, government and authorized dealers; there is also loss of revenue, copyright and trademark infringement and lost employment opportunities.
“This menace,” he added, “also poses danger to the health and safety of consumers and have negative effects on communication network operations as it degrades quality of service delivery.”
He remarked that NCC has noted the developed Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) Resource Guide for governments that proposes a range of measures.
These he measures according to the NC boss include, the adoption of changes in legal and regulatory frameworks so as to restrict the activation of counterfeit devices on telecommunications networks, restriction of importation of mobile devices and accessories that are not compliant to industry standards or compliant with country’s legislative and regulatory framework among others.
Sales Director, Invego, Joseph Eid, stressed the need to support reforms in the market, build partnership, identify and define best practices and propose standards to improve product security.
Eid said the consequences of using counterfeit products are enormous adding that it poses both health and environmental risks to people and the entire population/
He added that if the devices are not safe for consumers to use, it can hamper economic development and can compromise personal data even as he urged synergy of all stakeholders to address the issue in a sustainable manner and increase awareness on the effect of counterfeit ICT devices.
“70 percent of consumers wrongly believe that counterfeit devices are of the same quality with the originals,” Eid stated pointing out that counterfeit phones drop 1 in 4 calls, delays handover on average by 41 percent and have limited data speed.
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