Counterfeit in Nigeria IT market….how long can Joseph Odumodu and his SON tame this tide?
The Director General of Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Dr Joseph Odumodu has regretted that the computer market in Ikeja, known around the world as the largest IT market in Africa sells more of counterfeit products than original.
The DG said that the perception of the market from outside the world suggests a genuine market environment which elevates the country among markets in world economy, but regretted that, “unfortunately,80 percent of their activities are illicit”
He also berated the level at which counterfeit products thrive in Nigeria. Saying that activities of counterfeiters in the country have helped increase Nigeria’s already bloated labour market.
Odumodu said the scourge has also seen to the closure of many legitimate companies with their workforce thrown into the labour market, leaving untold hardships that put undue pressure on family and general Nigerian economy .
Odumodu was speaking at the HP Anti- Counterfeit Africa Conference in Abuja Wednesday, adding that the mere realization of the untold hardship Nigerians go through as a result of the effects of consuming counterfeit products was why his Organisation is bent on sanitizing the Computer village market, Ikeja.
According to him, “over one million Nigerians working in the textile industries lost their jobs since 2000 due to counterfeiting, leading to accelerated closure of many manufacturing firms, while the serving ones are in the state of comatose”
Besides the loss of jobs, Odumodu noted that health and environmental effects of these are also heavy on the economy. “Even as their activities put consumers lives under threat, the effect of counterfeiting on the Nigerian economy might endanger the new position Nigeria has assumed as a new economic frontier.”
He added that “for certain types of infringing goods, the health and safety of consumers may be put at a significant risk and when you factor in corruption, it reduces the effectiveness of public institutions,”
He also averred that counterfeiting causes environmental damage through the significant waste produced through destroying infringing items.
Corroborating him, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde, admitted that “counterfeiting and Piracy affects the wellbeing of any economy in a variety of ways. For example they promote criminality as successful counterfeiters are often also the promoters of social negativities in view of their possession of enormous illegal wealth. Government is deprived of much needed revenue since counterfeiters evade payment of necessary taxes and duties. Health development agenda of government is also compromised and innocent public is exposed to dangers through subscription to cheaper but dangerous items of food and medicament”
Dikko said that from available statistics, over the past decade illegal trade in counterfeiting and piracy has expanded to include virtually every product sector including equipment, chemicals, mobile phone batteries, spare parts and toys which is estimated that by 2015 the value for global illicit trade on counterfeit and pirated goods could reach $1.7 tr
Meanwhile earlier in his welcome address, District Manager, English Africa, Printing and Personal Systems, HP, Jean Paul Pinto said though new style of IT is emerging in mobility; cloud; social and big data, counterfeiting has remained a major threat.
Pinto, who said Africa is important to HP not only because of the money, but to impact lives with technology, disclosed that the Nigerian market accounts for over 20 per cent of HP’s sales globally.
He claimed that two PCs and one printer are sold by HP every minute in Africa, with major sales coming from Nigeria, adducing that as reason HP believes that if it succeeds in tackling counterfeits in Nigeria, it can equally succeed in other parts of the continent