Kenya to commission a study on counterfeits

October 15, 2011
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Counterfeits /FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 14 – Kenya’s growing counterfeit and pirated goods industry has prompted a nationwide baseline survey to be launched by the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) in January 2012.

ACA Chief Executive Officer Stephen Mallowah said the survey seeks to identify the source of the counterfeiting and piracy industry that consumes Sh134.5 million of trade in Kenya.

“We want to establish how big the problem is, and magnitude in financial terms. We also want to know which sectors are the most affected. We have a lot of figures which have been thrown about in terms of tax loss for the government, losses to manufacturers,” he said.

Mallowah was speaking during a consultative forum with private sector players and donor agencies, on Friday, discussing the key areas of focus for the survey that include motor vehicle parts, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.

Often counterfeit products are found in legitimate stores and not necessarily on the black market further complicating the crackdown process.

Sub-standard goods such as dry cell batteries, animal feeds and even salt continue to inundate the Kenyan market.

A report released by the International Peace Institute in September 2011 revealed that Kenya is the biggest market for counterfeit goods and contraband in East Africa.

The counterfeit industry mainly sourced from India and China is worth about Sh91.4 billion and rivaling key foreign exchange earners tourism and tea and coffee, according to the report.

The survey that has been allocated a Sh50 million- budget will also address the issue of inadequate counterfeit and piracy policies, which Mallowah said has adversely affected the capacity of relevant enforcement agencies to effectively crackdown on the fake goods.

“The policy vacuum we’re talking about is precisely what we are trying to address, as to the magnitude of the problem, specific areas affected, consumer perception and entry points. We need to have that research so that we know whether to increase the number of customs offices or bureau standards agents,” he said.

Currently, the country does not have a facility to destroy hazardous waste detected in the market, a major reason Mallowah said the survey is necessary to inform future anti-counterfeiting policies.

Results from the survey are expected to be released by mid 2012.

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