5 December 2012

Kenya: Counterfeits Costing Manufacturers Sh70 Billion Annually - Report

LOCAL manufacturers are losing more than Sh70 billion annually due to the upsurge of counterfeit products in the country, an anti-counterfeit official said yesterday

The assistant director of the Anti-Counterfeit Agency Agnes Karigu, said the loss has forced some of the companies based in Kenya to relocate while other have had to lay off workers due to low business.

" Counterfeit menace is a threat to any countries' political, social and economic development. This calls for enactment of punitive laws for the offenders, " Karigu told anti-counterfeit enforcement officers at a forum in Eldoret yesterday.

The government, Karigu said is losing over Sh20 billion annually as a result of evasion of taxes due to counterfeits.

The director warned that the Vision 2030 targets may remain unattainable unlesstrade on illicit products is firmly tackled.

She said most counterfeits are fast moving products that are imported from neighboring countries and smuggled into Kenya through the porous borders.

Karigu said the East African Community member states are deliberating on comprehensive laws to counter the illegal trade.

" We are currently spearheading an enactment of a water tight law at the EAC legislative assembly to address numerous challenges posed by cross border trade." she said.

Uasin Gishu County Commisioner Ali Abdi said farmers in the country have been victims of fake seeds leading to a drop in food pruduction in the region.

He said counterfeit car spare parts could also be contributing to the high number of road accidents in the country.

Abdi said consumers should be vigilant and report cases where they suspect that certain products are counterfeit.

" We need to fight this practice by all means necessary since it's the number one killer of creativity and innovation and consequently economic growth and development of any nation. " said Abdi.

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