The Nigerian Telecommunications Commission yesterday disclosed that about 250 million substandard phones were sold annually in the country.
The acting Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who gave the figure during a stake holders meeting on ‘ Combating Counterfeit and Substandard ICT Devices Programme in Abuja, noted that the damaging impact of the substandard products on the economy cannot be quantified in socio-economic terms.
Specifically, he lamented the damaging effects of the products on a broad spectrum of the national life, saying that the ugly development poses grave danger to the health, safety and privacy of buyers and the nation’s environment.
He said” counterfeiting is a growing economic problem affecting a wide range of products in the ICT sector, mobile phones are especially targeted with some 250 million counterfeits sold annually. This number constitutes about 15% to 20% of the global mobile phone market.
“Apart from the obvious negative economic impact of this ugly trend on the manufacturers of genuine products, government, authorized dealers which include brand evaluation, loss of revenue, copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition, loss of tax, cost of compliance with applicable national legislation, national security and loss of employment opportunities.
“This menace also poses danger to the health and safety of consumers equally breaching the privacy of consumers. Collective efforts is urgently needed to curtail counterfeiting in ICT,” Danbatta added.
Also speaking, director EMEA Mobile Manufacturers Forum, Thomas Barmuller, stressed the need to address counterfeit phones due to the hazardous substances which he said were not only a risk to safety, health and economic development,, but was a tool used for transmission of deadly viruses.
According to him, investigations has shown that the incidence of malware, spyware and SMS Trojans has increased dramatically especially with the usage of fake smart phones.
He however called for increased consumer education through communication strategy both at the national and regional levels, to create awareness on the negative effects of counterfeit phones so as to enable consumers, manufacturers and operators link to a trustworthy source.
He added that, “it is necessary to work with stake holders to address the situation by developing communication campaigns, build awareness and support reforms in key markets.”