By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Investors in Nigeria can now heave a sigh of relief as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has now taken a drastic step against piracy and counterfeiting in the country. The global body has commissioned a working group that would give the fight against the social vices an effective backing in Nigeria.
The ICC delegation drawn from France; Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, UAE; Sweden and Nigeria converged at Eko Hotel, Lagos on Wednesday, where the dangers of counterfeiting and piracy were again examined and solutions proffered.
In his address to the forum, Mr Babatunde Savage, Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce Nigeria, said counterfeiting damages the market dynamics, as it undermines the revenue generation through custom duties and taxes.
Represented at the occasion by Mrs Olubunmi Osuntuyi, Secretary General, ICC Nigeria, Savage stated that the menace exposes consumers to serious health and safety risks. His words: “Counterfeiting and piracy have become a global epidemic, leading to a significant drain of the global economy, jeopardizing investments in innovation and risking consumer health and safety; thereby resulting in loss of jobs.”
In response to this epidemic, the chairman said ICC launched the BASCAP initiative to unite the global business community across all product sectors in order to address issues associated with intellectual property theft and to petition for greater commitments by local, national and international officials in the area of enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights.
He observed that the volume and value of counterfeiting and piracy is increasing rapidly; thereby threatening governments, and civil society with unsafe and ineffective products.
Mr Savage therefore charged the audience at the forum that business needs to play its role in ensuring that open economies and the rule of law work for the benefit of all countries and their nationals. He advised that they should find lasting solutions that would create equitable opportunities for every willing person to participate in growth.
Corroborating his view, Sophie Peresson, the Paris, France-based BASCAP Director, said BASCAP has, since its inception, created a powerful voice for businesses and compelled government actions and allocation of resources towards strengthened intellectual property rights enforcement.
Represented by Tracy Faustin, BASCAP Project Manager, Peresson disclosed that the opportunity to engage on the African continent started with a BASCAP invitation to speak at a conference hosted in Kenya by the East African Business Community (EABC).
The forum, she revealed, developed into collaborative partnerships with the Kenyan Anti-Counterfeit Agency, a government established association overseeing matters related to counterfeiting and piracy.
She stated: “Nigeria was later selected as a priority country to start building a BASCAP presence on the ground, which prompted the meeting.
Other dignitaries present at the meeting include: Uche Nwokocha, Partner & Head, Intellectual Property Department, Aluko and Oyebode & Anti-Cpounterfeiting Collaboration (ACC) of Nigeria; Adeola Akinnibosun, Manager, Corporate Affairs & Communications, Japan Tobacco International; Wael Adhami, Head, Brand Protection, Middle East, Africa Pakistan & UAE; Felix Ologbonyo, Corporate Counsel, Nestle Nigeria; Staffan Holmberg, Brand Protection Manager, SKF, Sweden; and Margaret Olele, CEO/Executive Secretary, American Business Council Nigeria.
The ICC is the world’s business organisation, representing over 6 million companies of all sizes and sectors and chambers of commerce in more than 100 countries. Nigeria became a member over 30 years ago, sequel to the realization of the benefits accruable form becoming a member.
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