Senate moves against importation of fake goods, currencies

By Benjamin Arida://

Senate yesterday passed, for second reading, a bill seeking to prohibit the importation of fake goods and pirated currencies, among others into the country.

The bill tagged “Counterfeit Goods Bill 2021” targetted such fake goods as unauthorized or illegally manufactured, reproduced, altered or distributed products associated with abuse of recognized intellectual property right, such as trademark, patents, design or copyright in goods. 

Others are counterfeited and pirated currencies, apparel, consumer electronics, automotive parts, pharmaceuticals, foods and drinks and chemicals. 

Leading debate on the principles of the bill, its sponsor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC Ogun Central), said the bill, which was read for the first time on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 provides for the prohibition of manufacturing, production, possession, and distribution of counterfeit goods. 

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

“The bill also provides for 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”, the lawmaker said. 

Amosun 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. 

“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”, he added. 

The bill, after consideration was referred by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Trade and Investments for further legislative works and was given four weeks to report back.

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