, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 5 – Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has admitted that there has been laxity in dealing with counterfeit goods within regulatory agencies such as Kenya Bureau of Standards and Kenya Revenue Authority.
“There may be or have been some laxity in dealing with counterfeit goods but in certain cases and you more than anyone else in Parliament understands because you are in a security committee some goods come through porous means,” Matiangi told the Administration and National Security Committee of Parliament.
He defended his ministry saying its work is to enforce the law and act according to the advice given by regulatory agencies.
“The issue of counterfeit is the responsibility of the regulators. We support them to enforce the law and we only go where they invite us, “Matiangi said.
He has however assured the committee that the Ministry of Interior will work together with the regulatory institutions and the multi-agency task force that was formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to bring to book all those involved in counterfeit business.
MPs however recommended that all the mechanisms used to detect counterfeit goods should be improved and rules and regulations on importation reviewed.
“We cannot have an open gazette notice for importation of products like what happened with sugar. We need to review the mechanisms used to avoid importation of drugs in the name of sugar or any other product,” said Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa.
Even though there’s no reliable and current data on the scale and extent of the contraband and counterfeit market, the government and private sector are increasingly being hit where it hurts most.
The government loses an estimated Sh30 billion annually in tax revenue and enterprises are besieged as their market is dominated by contraband and counterfeits.
The biggest scandal now is about sugar that has illegally been imported, some of it reportedly contaminated, when sugarcane growers are suffering for lack of payments from millers crumbling under mounting debt.