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Government intensifies war on counterfeit products

The government has issued a stern warning on the production and distribution of counterfeit goods in the market.

The announcement comes hot on heels of the recent seizure of counterfeit goods worth over Sh35 million by Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) at a residential house in Nairobi.

According to Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed, the government will take swift, effective, and stringent measures: impose hefty penalties to delinquents that engage in illicit trade of counterfeit goods in the country.

“The on-going war on counterfeit products is 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,” said Mr. Mohamed.

“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 added.

CORRUPTION

Mr. Mohamed noted that corruption is inherently linked to counterfeit trade in the country and as such continues to thwart the fight against counterfeiting.

He urged regulatory agencies not to delay in taking action against any agency found to have been involved in counterfeiting.

He also requested consumers to be vigilant when purchasing products and requested them to report to authorities when in contact with persons trafficking counterfeit products.

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 Sh 30 billion (S$360 million) while the government loses Sh 6 billion ($71 million) in potential profits and tax revenue due to counterfeit trade.

As part of efforts to combat the importation of counterfeits, the Ministry of Industrialization and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) decreed in 2009 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 standardization mark (ISM).