NCC to clamp down on importers, traders without type-approval certificate

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By Nkechi-Ugoeze

Worried by the high level of e-Waste being imported into the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is set to clampdown on importers and sellers of handsets and other telecommunications devices brought into the country without type-approval certificate.

To this end, the Ccommission is to 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.

Speaking at the public enquiry on, ‘e-Waste Regulations and Disaster Recovery Guidelines,’ in Abuja, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, 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 noted that about 75 per cent of electronics imported into Nigeria, are not repairable, contain toxic, obsolete. Some of the toxic elements found in e-Waste include lead, mercury, lithium, and other ozone-depleting substances.He observed that 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 regretted that most telecom devices like handsets are imported into Nigeria without recourse to type-approval certificate by the Commission, warning that it will go after those who import or sell non-type-approved devices and bring them to book.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 top ensure that they are not dumped in our countries because of the danger inherent touching irreparable devices.”On Disaster recovery guidelines, Danbatta said NCC is issuing proactive containment measures that will mitigate disasters likely to affect business, adding that these are aimed at protecting telecom companies from the threats of emergencies in their operations.

Giving an overview of the draft guidelines, the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, explained it is a regulatory framework for the control and management of e-Wastes.She added that the regulation apply 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.

Accordingly, manufacturers that operate without obtaining an extended producer responsibility authorisation would pay a fine of N500.000 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 N200,000/day from the day of default until compliance, while submission of false or misleading information to NCC would attract N10 million fine. Also, non-compliance with Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) requirements by any operator would attract a fine of N10 million.

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