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KEBS turning into a counterfeit, says Cofek

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – The Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) has demand an immediate overhaul of the Kenya Bureau of Standards claiming it has performed dismally against public expectations.

The consumer body says the increased presence of dangerous counterfeit fast-moving consumer goods on supermarket shelves is a clear indicator that KEBS is not doing its work.

“The Kenya Bureau of Standards and Anti-Counterfeiting Agency no longer proactively carry out meaningful mystery inspections; they only conduct investigations after a public outcry. Even then, the quality of such inspections is hardly satisfactory. Results are never shared publicly,” COFEK says.

The federation claims that Kenyan consumers seem to know only of KEBS by name, and have never felt the impact of its work even at such critical times.

“We have continued to receive complaints where KEBS officers, for instance in Kisumu, work in cahoots to protect wrongdoers at the expense of the consumer interest. We have since passed the information to relevant agencies government to investigate,” the consumer body states.

COFEK wants a thorough vetting of KEBS staff and senior management, including the agency head being given security of tenure as a cushion against greedy and influential politically-correct cartels.

The consumer body has also attributed the increased presence of dangerous counterfeit goods to lack of demonstrated political goodwill to stem the challenge.

The agency wants the government to invest in intensive consumer information, education and communication to curb further use of counterfeit goods.

“Government must more than ever, in line with the Consumer Protection Act 2012, urgently invest in intensive consumer information, education and communication. Part of the proposed Sh2.5 billion to be spent on commemorating Kenya’s 50 years of independence in December 2013 could be applied more meaningfully here,” COFEK says.

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It has also challenged consumers to avoid using counterfeit goods saying this may cause health complications.

“Consumers have a bigger responsibility. By shunning counterfeits and fakes, their markets will shrink. Consumer shopping behavior must change. We must make time to plan for shopping including the actual shopping. This would help scrutinize the labeling, packaging, sizes and weights of products we buy,” COFEK said.

Consumers must be on the lookout for the variance in quality from colours, packaging, country and dates of manufacture, among other details that are often ignored with our rush shopping styles.

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