FG moves to curb N82Bn yearly loss to softwarepiracy
Saddened by the hyper-increase in illicit activities such as software piracy, counterfeiting, intellectual property theft, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications, has vowed to curb excesses of the perpetuators.
A recent document released by Business Software Alliance (BSA), the global body responsible for the advancement of the goals of the software industry, positions Nigeria as placed among countries with the highest cases of software piracy, intellectual property theft and other sharp practices in the Information and Technology (IT) industry.
According to BSA, Nigeria’s yearly losses to illicit trade associated with software are estimated at $513 million (approximately N82billion).
Speaking on the perennial menace, Sonny Echono, an architect and permanent secretary, Ministry of Communications, expressed the Ministry’s deep regret that the trend harms local resellers and service firms; dwindles government revenues, and increases the risk of cyber related crimes and security breaches.
Echono said that, fighting the economic sabotage will require stakeholders involved to adhere to standards in the industry, ensure availability of genuine products at affordable rates.
The Permanent Secretary said, “The Minister, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, is also concerned about software piracy in the industry. We intend to leverage existing legislative and institutional frameworks to do a better work in the area of enforcement.
“It involves a whole circle that expands both concept of easy way of technology; the accessibility at the right price point.
There is also the fact that intellectual property is the beam that holds businesses. Therefore, if you are going to leverage the brain-knowledge, you should be able to change the culture of our people; it’s not enough buying chips. As you are aware, there is zero-tolerance for abuses; we are looking beyond the economy to security risks; due to the fact, some who are using this fake software, as it were, to destiny hardware, interrupt transactions in a detrimental manner to businesses and do not augur well for the economy”.
He however said that everybody has to be involved, providing information to the law enforcement agencies to curb the tide of software privacy in the country.
On his part, Kabelo Makwane, managing director, Microsoft Nigeria, described software piracy as a symptom of other underlying structure and economic issues.
“One is, the availability of an enabling environment. In this area, the Government is competent to speak on having the right legal or legislative environment for anti-piracy.
“We know that certain entities like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), are working tirelessly to ensure that people who certain products and services; and others who engage their intellectual proportion enjoy their protections in the market.
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