, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 7 – The government has issued a stern warning on the production and distribution of counterfeit goods in the country.
This follows the seizure of Sh35 million worth of counterfeit goods by the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) at a residential house in Nairobi.
Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed says the government will take swift and decisive action against anyone found culpable and stressed that stringent measures including hefty fines will be imposed on those who engage in illicit trade of counterfeit goods in the country.
“The on-going war on counterfeit products will be unrelenting. it is no longer business as usual. We are going to wipe out illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods that negatively impact our economy of legitimate jobs, lost tax revenues and increases social costs,” he stated.
He revealed that the government is working with various stakeholders including local and international enforcement agencies and the private sector to address the issue of counterfeiting.
He stated that they will be doing this through sensitization programs, implementation of legal and policy reforms, technical assistance and capacity building measures, channels for international cooperation and tools for strengthening enforcement practices.
“For our manufacturing sector to thrive, my ministry in collaboration with regulatory agencies is working interminably towards improvement of the country’s Intellectual Property (IP) regime by providing an advanced legal and institutional framework to ensure IP protection,” he said.
Mohamed noted that corruption is inherently linked to counterfeit trade in the country and as such continues to thwart the fight against counterfeiting.
He pleaded to regulatory agencies not to delay in taking action against any agency found to have been involved in counterfeiting and further requested consumers to be vigilant when purchasing products and requested them to report to authorities when in contact with persons trafficking counterfeit products.
He explained that the impact of counterfeits is also felt by traditional manufacturers through brand erosion, loss of sales and market share, the closure of factories and unfair competition.
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) estimates that manufacturers incur an annual net loss of Sh30 billion while the government loses Sh6 Billion in potential profits and tax revenue due to counterfeit trade.
As part of efforts made to combat the importation of counterfeits, in 2009, the Ministry of Industrialization and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) decreed that all locally manufactured goods must have a standardization mark issued by KEBS, and several categories of imported goods, specifically food products, electronics, and medicines, must have an Import Standardisation Mark (ISM).