Worried about the high number of fake and substandard goods in the country, the House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill for an Act to amend to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Act 2004 through second reading.
In the same vein, the speaker, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has said that the time was right for the establishment of an intellectual property commission in the country.
The bill which was co-sponsored by Hon. Abubakar Momoh, and Hon Uzo Azubuike, sought to amend the principal Act for the purpose of providing additional functions for the organisation, increase penalty for violations and protect intellectual property rights.
Leading the debate on the bill which also sought to repeal and re-enact the Act, the lawmakers noted that SON has not been able to attain its desired performance since the country was still riddled with substandard goods.
In his contribution, Momoh lamented that SON has a big problem in monitoring the importation of fake goods into the country, arguing that the organisation needed comprehensive legislation to properly carry out its activities , while Azubuike noted that he has proposed 39 amendments to the Act and was seeking for a re-enactment of 71 new insertions that would give SON a complete set of laws for effective performance.
Also contributing in support of the bill, deputy leader of the House, Hon. Leo Ogor, lamented that close to 60 per cent of the goods in Nigerian markets today were substandard, listing motor vehicle parts, which he said the originals were hardly found again as an example.
He also appealed to importers to be patriotic and desist from importing fake goods into the country.
“It is also important to call on our importers to be more patriotic on the quality of goods they import into the country.”
Also speaking in support, the chairman of Rules and Business Committee, Hon. Albert Sam-Tsokwa, advocated for stiffer penalties against perpetrators of such crimes considering the magnitude of harm visited on individuals by the fake goods.
Meanwhile, Tambuwal yesterday mandated the House Committee on Commerce to revive the intellectual property commission bill, which was initiated in the 6th Assembly of the House but could not be passed into law.
According to the speaker: “It is time for this country to have a commission on intellectual property. I therefore call on members of the committee on commerce to review the old bill on intellectual property.”