The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has raised concerns over the growing number of fake and substandard products in the country.
The President, LCCI, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, made the observation at a press briefing on the state of the economy on Wednesday in Lagos.
Ruwase said that the counterfeiting of products posed a grave danger to the health and safety of citizens.
According to him, the issue constitutes a major challenge to leading brands in the consumer and durable products sector, as it erodes their market share, profit margin, and impacts adversely on their reputation.
Ruwase called for better investment in the capacity of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control towards tackling the problem of fake and substandard products.
He urged the Federal Government to address concerns about overlapping responsibilities of SON, NAFDAC and the Weight and Measures Unit of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
On insecurity, Ruwase said the security problem in the country was a major issue that needed to be fixed urgently, advising the government to spare no effort in addressing the challenge.
He said, “Our security agencies need to live up to their responsibilities. The insecurity – killings, kidnappings, unwarranted attacks, armed robbery – is a seriously worrisome development.
“The herders’ crises and attacks have led to loss of lives with serious consequences for the agricultural sector. It has escalated the risk of farming in many locations in the country.”
The LCCI boss also raised concerns over the growing incidence of cybercrime, calling for more concerted efforts to curb the menace.
He said, “Most affected are the financial services sector, e-commerce, mobile based transactions and telecommunications. These sectors have suffered huge losses as a result of cyber fraud. This is a major challenge of the rapidly evolving digital revolution.”
Ruwase stressed the need to regularly upscale capacity of security agencies and other relevant institutions to tackle the problem.
Meanwhile, the chamber is set to hold a stakeholders’ forum on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
It noted in a statement that the forum was aimed at providing a platform for private sector stakeholders to deliberate on the trade agreement in line with global best practices.
The forum had been scheduled to hold on Thursday May 24 in Lagos, it added.
The Director-General, LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, was quoted as saying, “We need to recognise the reality and inevitability of globalisation as economic activities become increasingly borderless.
“No nation can truly survive in isolation. As the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria’s trade policies and relations must be sustainable and in the long-term interest of the country.”
According to Yusuf, the outcome of the deliberations at the forum will form a basis for a private sector advocacy engagement on the agreement with key stakeholders and relevant agencies of government.
He disclosed that seasoned professionals, business leaders and top public sector officials would be part of the conference.
There would also be a keynote address by the Director-General/ Chief Negotiator, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiation, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, the statement noted.
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