LAGOS (AFP) - Nigeria is to introduce import duties to stem the influx of substandard and unserviceable computers, electrical and electronic appliances posing health and environmental hazards in the country.
Nigerians are becoming increasingly fed up with what experts have described as "junk" imported second-hand computers, electrical appliances and cell phones which are flooding Africa's most populous country from Europe, Asia and the United States.
Information Minister John Odey said after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the government was worried about the development and has decided to stem the tide.
"They are now classified as e-wastes and these scraps are now being imported into Nigeria and cannibalised to fix others," he said.
"They are bringing them in droves because they are classified as educational materials which attract zero duty," he added.
He said a committee headed by the finance minister will soon announce a date for the implementation of the new tariff.
Last year, an American NGO, Basel Action Network, published a report in which it said that some 500 containers of 400,000 second-hand computers are emptied monthly in Apapa seaport in Lagos.
In Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city with some 15 million people, hundreds of computers and accessories change hands daily in the fast-growing Ikeja "Computer Village" market.
Experts say the development is posing health and environmental hazards because of substances contained in them such as lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium and brominated flame-retardants.
Source: Agence France Presse