Nigerian Communications Commission to address importers, traders without type-approval certificate

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that it will begin restricting the importation and sale of handsets and other telecommunications devices brought into the country without type-approval certificate.

To achieve this task, the commission will come up with regulatory guidelines for the management of e-waste in Nigeria’s telecommunications industry. The guideline, which is industry-specific, will key into other initiatives at national and international levels.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, who spoke at the public enquiry on, ‘E-waste Regulations and Disaster Recovery Guidelines, said the Commission cannot ignore the threats that e-waste pose to the environment and the health of Nigerians, adding that the country must find ways to curb the menace.

Danbatta revealed that about 75 percent of electronics imported into Nigeria, are not repairable, contain toxic and are obsolete. Some of the toxic elements found in e-waste include lead, mercury, lithium, and other ozone-depleting substances.

The Vice Chairman said he observed that the e-wastes are not degradable and contributes 30 million tonnes of waste yearly, and will keep increasing, stressing that there are scientifically-proven methods of degrading e-waste.

Decrying that Nigeria is becoming a dumping ground for e-waste, Danbatta disclosed that every telecom device in the country is supposed to have been type-approved by the NCC, or at least a sample of the brand type-approved prior to importation.

He said “e-waste pollutes the environment, the food we eat collects substances from these wastes. We need to protect our people from pollutions that are natural and those that are man-made. NCC and other agencies of the government owe the duty to the citizens of this country to ensure that these irreparable products do not find space in this country. We shouldn’t accept them, we should do everything to ensure that they are not dumped in our countries because of the danger inherent touching irreparable devices”.

Speaking on the regulatory guidelines for the management of e-waste in the country, the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of NCC, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye explained that the regulation applies to all type-approved electrical and electronics equipment, while activities carried out by any person in the value chain must be in accordance to set standards.

She said manufacturers that operate without obtaining an extended producer responsibility authorisation would pay a fine of 500,000 naira daily from the day of default until compliance.

Akinloye added that any importer, recycler, or transporter of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) that operates without authorisation would pay 200,000 naira per day, from the day of default until compliance, while submission of false or misleading information to NCC would attract a 10 million naira fine.

She also noted that non-compliance with Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) requirements by any operator would attract a fine of 10 million naira.

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