Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has said that it will come up with legislative measures to halt the importation of fake and sub-standard products into the country.
The chairman, House Ad-hoc Committee on fake, sub-standard and counterfeit products in the country, Femi Fakeye, stated this on Monday, at an investigative hearing organised by the committee.
Fakeye, while decrying the havoc fake and sub-standard products have wrecked on individuals and the economy of the country, said it might become inevitable to enact legislation that will prescribe stiff penalties for those linked directly or indirectly with the importation of fake and sub-standard products into the country.
The lawmaker noted that with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) treaty scheduled to become operational from January 1, 2021, it has become imperative for Nigeria to address the issue of importation of fake and counterfeit products, so that the country does not become a dumping ground.
According to him, ‘going forward, it might become inevitable that some legislative interventions could naturally emanate that would recommend some sanctions for the management and staff in certain government agencies that are found guilty within our judicial system of not doing what they were supposed to have done in preventing the continued production and circulation of fake, sub-standard and counterfeit products in the country.
‘It is noteworthy that such consumer experiences with unacceptable quality of product and services are part of the reasons that Nigeria is being bypassed as a destination of choice for foreign direct investment, notwithstanding the fact that, with a relatively strong effective demand in the hands of a population conservatively estimated at 200 million, our country should be the first destination of choice for global investible funds coming into Africa.
‘With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) treaty now scheduled to go on stream on January 1 2021, Nigeria has an urgent duty to address these unacceptable practices, lest our country remains a dumping ground for better-quality products and services imported from the rest of Africa. With poor and unacceptable quality standards associated with our products and services, Nigeria would not be able to fight back and get its fair share of the reward of the intracontinental trade; and the way to fight back is to export our own goods and services. as we import from other African countries.’
In his presentation at the investigative hearing, the Director-General of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma, said the government was taking steps to blacklist companies involved in the importation of fake and substandard products into the country.
‘Sometime last year, we talked with the Chinese Government and we agreed to blacklist some companies – those who habitually bring in substandard products. If we prosecute you now and find you wanting, the second time around what we will do is to blacklist you,’ he stated.