The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has reiterated government commitment to protection of intellectual property right by introduction of modern methods for industrial property registration in the department of Commercial Law (MITI) since 2012.
He stated this during the celebration of the 2015 Intellectual Property Day with a theme; Get Up, stand Up for Music in Abuja.
The Minister said during his tenure in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, he ensured that Nigeria Industrial Property’s registry was given special attention to enable it operate and start using modern methods.
“A number of reforms were introduced like online registration of applications in 2012, the technology and innovation support centre call “TISK” which had greatly assisted researchers, entrepreneurs, students and universities in accessing data and information about inventions and innovations, automation of registration process”.
He said “ again we are working towards ensuring that we digitalize the records. We have volumes of records which is an eyes sore starting from 1901. We have started the process to digitalize stark of files with the help of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Japanese government”.
Aganga said “ I am glad that stakeholders recognizes the stage the Ministry has move to in Intellectual Property rights in Nigeria; It is more valuable to hear from user of our services commending the Ministry for the improvement in the sector and we are very glad to hear this. You have given us all the credit but I will pass the credit to the MITI team”.
The Minister said that Intellectual Property Day is being celebrated to raise awareness about the need to safeguard and protect creations of the mind adding that Intellectual Property is a foundation upon which development and economic growth is spread.
“ it is a basis for the evolution of nations from being tag developing to develop. In fact, is one of the key for attracting and retaining investment in a country as you know, most developed and developing countries actually needs a lot of investment given limited budgetary allocation available to government to invest in capital project in every country”.
According to him, all the recorded 60 reforms put in place in the last 4 years in the Ministry are game changer but in intellectual property sector, it would not have been possible in the Ministry that have limited resources without the creativity, and strong relationship we have with World Industrial Property Organization (WIPO), as well as hard work of the Director and staff of the Ministry. He stressed.
The Minister said Music is a universal language that appeals to everybody adding that it is appropriate medium to be use to sensitize members of the unsuspecting public about issues of counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property rights as well as creating awareness among Nigerians about the evil of stealing other people effort.
He said Nigeria Copy Right Commission, Industrial property registry, Commercial Law department in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and amended law will go a long way in ensuring intellectual property and issue of Nigerians to be address by just one single process to implement stricter regime for faker of intellectual property.
“Each one of you here is a stakeholder in the Nigeria entity. Nigeria can be what you want it to be if you are willing to do your part. Each one of you here has the ability to transform Intellectual Property sector. If one of you wants it and you are committed to it and you decide to move from talk to action, you can transform the sector quickly rather than relied on hand-over note. As one of the actors of today event you should put together a robust and effective plan to transform the IP sector. You are going to benefit from it and then it is your job and your responsibility to put together a robust and effective plan and present it to government for implementation, but do not leave it alone to government , there are part for private sector and make sure you do your part and hold government accountable . You will be amaze if you do this and see how the sector will transform itself and you will be proud of it”. Aganga advised.
In his contribution, the Chief Executive Officer, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Mr. Chinedu Angus Chuwhuji pointed out that there is a need to urgently exploit the contribution of music industry to the growth of the Nigerian economy and be one of the largest employers of labour in the country.
He said that the World Intellectual Day 2015 will trigger national intervention in the problems militating against the proper growth of Nigeria’s creative industries and call on legislators to help strengthen laws to deal with the digital challenge of the sector.
Earlier, the representative of United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Alan R. Tousignant (Counselor for Economic Affairs) commended the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and Nigerian Bar Association for hosting the event adding that music industry is a thriving sector of the economy that provides jobs for millions of people in Nigeria and United States.
He said in U.S. in 2010 intellectual property and entertainment industry contribute $5 trillion making 25 % of US economy, those industries provides 27 million Americans job directly and another30 million indirect jobs in the supply chain. Given the important of the sector, it is important that government provides an enabling environment for people in the industry and effective protection of copy right and patent is an essential role of government to encourage innovation and creativity.