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How counterfeit products affects local industries in Nigeria

By Charles Nwaoguji

The business of counterfeit goods is one of the largest underground industries in the world and growing rapidly. The impact on the global economy is in the billions of Naira. Every year government spends billions of Naira through its agencies to tackle this menace.

From fake shoes to mock medicines, the business of counterfeit goods is one of the largest underground industries in the world and it is rapidly growing. With cheap overhead, high profits, and cloak-and-dagger business style, these global black market industries are here to stay. A counterfeit good is a product that closely resembles another product in order to trick customers into buying. Since the beginning of Standard Organsation of Nigeria (SON), and other sister agencies in Nigeria. Officials and authorities struggle to control the activities of the criminal organizations that are producing and marketing counterfeit goods. Stopping these enterprises seems doubtful because of the increasingly aggressive behaviors of fraudulent distributors. The best way to stop the manufacturing of imitated products is to inform consumers of the potential harm these products pose to the Nigeria and its economy. If people refuse to purchase knock-off products, these rogue industries will suffer economically and ultimately disappear.

Harmful Effects
Nigerian views of counterfeit goods are often unrealistic and far from the truth. When Nigerian consumers think of counterfeit goods, fake shoes and mock paintings come to mind. Unfortunately, many citizens do not realize the harmful effects that counterfeit products have on Nigerian businesses. Nigeria businesses and industries lose approximately N500 billion in revenues annually due to counterfeits. On a broader scale, counterfeit goods account for more than half a trillion naira each year. The lucrative market of counterfeiting has greatly impacted the electronics industry.
As counterfeiters continue to produce fraudulent electronic components, the reputable electronic companies are faced with threatening statistics and slumping sales due to these knockoff parts. These imitated components are making their way into Nigeria market.
According to the Executive Chairman of Electrical Dealer Association of Nigeria (EDAN), Mr. Ichie Fabian Ezeorijika, the issue of fake electronics product is time bomb. We in Alaba International market do not play with this because we know the health hazains of this fake products to the consumers. Within us we have set up two task forces to work with SON in order to check these substandard goods in the Alaba market. We have instructed every importer to adhance to the rules and regulation of Federal government in order to stop these fake products coming into the country.
He says, the fight against substandard products in Nigeria is achievement, if all hands are desk.
He therefore, appealed to the importers to always do the right things and not to import substandard products to Nigeria as it is criminal offence.
Counterfeiters’ sneaky entry into Nigeria market also poses an ample threat to Nigeria consumers. Nigerians are often too concerned with paying the cheapest price for their electronics, when they should be focused on the harmful effects that these cheaply made counterfeits could have on their well being. Faulty batteries or poorly designed transformers are explosive under certain conditions. Not only are these counterfeit goods harmful to Nigeria people, but they greatly impact Nigeria businesses as well. The rise of substandard products can potentially cause businesses to experience an increase in costs, as well as loss of productivity. Most importantly, counterfeits can negatively impact a company’s reputation and cost millions, sometimes billions, in lost revenue .

Impact on employment
In addition to lost revenues and negative reputations, counterfeiting immeasurably impacts the employment rates in the Nigeria and in many other countries around the world. According to research analysts, approximately 2.5 million jobs worldwide have been dismantled by counterfeit black markets. Of those 2.5 million jobs lost, 750,000 jobs were located right here in the Nigeria . Many people affected by increasing unemployment rates will go out and find new jobs; however, it is estimated that 160,000 workers fail to find new employment. Of those who find new jobs, many earned less pay. All in all, the increasing unemployment rates caused by counterfeit markets have and continue to devastate personal financial situations for many families, as well as burden to the nation. If counterfeiting continues to grow, which researchers predict it will, the unemployment rate will continue to rise in the Nigeria and around the world.

Substandard goods and the internet
While sales of substandard goods rapidly increase, so do the fraudulent sales of substandard products on the Internet. Because online auction sites does not have warranties of authenticity and quality control , counterfeiters can easily distribute misleading or fake products around the globe.. Experts advise people not to use online auction sites because they can potentially harm legitimate merchants and leave buyers and sellers with great risks of uncertainty when it comes to trading over the Internet. Online counterfeit sales cause consumer confusion across the Nigeria and other parts of the world.

Substandard Medicines
Lastly, and most importantly, the Nigeria people should be aware of counterfeit medicines. Imitating pharmaceutical formulations poses a serious and fast-spreading threat to the health and safety of the people. Like retail merchants, substandard medicines create multitudes of problems for legitimate drug manufacturers by undermining their reputations and revenues. In addition, it jeopardizes the credibility of health and safety authorities like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). It is estimated that about 10% of medicines worldwide are counterfeit. Due to the increasing demand for cheap medicines and low production costs, counterfeiting drugs has become a vast and extremely lucrative market.
Almost any pharmaceutical formulation can be counterfeited. High priced lifestyle medicines like drugs for treating erectile dysfunction, fat reducers and sleep remedies, in addition to antibiotics, anticancer drugs, and inexpensive versions of painkillers or histamines can be counterfeited. What constitutes a fake drug differs from country to country. This causes difficulties for consumers and health and safety authorities. The most commonly used definition is that of the World Health Organization. It defines a counterfeit drug is one that is purposely and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity and source. Years ago counterfeit medicines could be identified by physical appearance or by reading labels for ingredients. However, over the past few years, counterfeiters have become more sophisticated, causing visual inspection to be ineffective. Today, chemical analysis is the only way to detect whether a drug is fake or legitimate.

All things considered, counterfeit goods are extremely harmful to the health and safety of the Nigeria people. Counterfeit products are not only harmful to the economy, but also to each individual’s well being. It is important that consumers understand the multi-faceted complexities of counterfeit markets: the economic impact on businesses, the enormity of counterfeit Internet sales, and the significance that counterfeit medications present in health and safety issues. By spreading the word about the harm caused by counterfeit goods, people could potentially put an end to these lucrative industries of counterfeit products.

As regulating authorities work constantly to keep Nigeria consumers safe, citizens of the world must join the fight against illegal commerce. If consumers continue to make transactions with counterfeit merchants, these black markets will never diminish. All consumers should share the responsibility of verifying the authenticity and origins of their purchases. The only way to put an end to the fast-growing market of counterfeit products is to stop purchasing these products. Without revenues or support, counterfeit sales will decrease and force the fraudulent criminals out of business.

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