7 February 2013

Kenya: EA Cables Says Counterfeits Hurting Sales

East African Cables wants the government to ban importation of house wiring cables to stop the inflow of counterfeits. The listed firm says Kenya has the capacity to produce enough cables to meet the market demand.

"We have four factories that have the capacity to produce for this market, the firms chairman, Zeph Mbugua said yesterday.

According to Mbugua, local cable manufacturers been losing more than Sh300 million a year due to trade in counterfeit. He said He said sub-standard electric cables also pose a danger to users as they may cause fires.

Most of the counterfeit cables are ordered from China by rogue local traders who then re-package them imitating local genuine brands. Mbugua urged the government through agencies like Kenya Revenue Authority to intensify monitoring at the ports.

However industrialisation permanent secretary Cyrus Njiru said a total ban of imports is not possible as it may create problems with Kenya's trading partners.

Njiru said the government is instead considering increasing import duty to encourage consumers to buy local cables and also put limits on what cable sizes can be imported.

It will also compel government agencies to only give tenders to contractors who commit to use locally made cables in their projects.

"We are also developing a certification regime where installers and electrician are compelled to use genuine electric cables only," said Njiru.

East African Cables has invested Sh50 million in a cable anti-counterfeit campaign. It will use a short code SMS system to enable consumers verify the authenticity of the cables before they buy.

The system has been developed by technology firm, Sproxil and it alerts the anti-counterfeit agency and police when a fake code is entered twice.

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