Politics and policy
Agency says China industries aiding counterfeits trade
Posted Wednesday, March 28 2012 at 19:06
Chinese manufacturers are colluding with traders to produce counterfeit goods for sale in Kenya, the Anti-Counterfeit Agency has claimed.
The agency accused local traders of sending specifics of the genuine products abroad, including logos and packages and asking manufacturers to imitate them.
“Several local manufacturers have complained that the vice has become rampant in the country and it is one of the new challenges we are facing in the fight against counterfeits,” said the agency’s executive director, Stephen Mallowah.
Mr Mallowah said the agency was negotiating with other government institutions that deal with cargo clearance — including the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Ports Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) — to allow them access to their systems.
“Very soon we will be able to access information on the Simba system (for KRA) and Kwatos (KPA) so that we can detect fake goods even before they are offloaded,” Mr Mallowah said.
Mr Mallowah said counterfeiting was affecting all sectors of the economy and that all government agencies should work together to fight it.
“This is a problem that requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders, both in the government and private sector,” he said during a law enforcement and sensitisation workshop on how to deal with counterfeits. Government agencies dealing with cargo clearance and the police were represented at the forum.
But he noted that there was also the challenge of overlapping mandates among government institutions in the fight against counterfeits.
Mr Mallowah said funding hitches that have slowed down the agency’s work, especially policing, would also be addressed.
“We have been assured that our budget for this year will be doubled from the previous allocation of Sh210 million to Sh420 million. This should enable us to open branches in Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret,” he said.
“The government loses Sh19 billion annually in terms of taxes and the figures keep rising each year which discourages investment hence loss of opportunities for the youth,” said Coast Provincial Commissioner Ernest Munyi who opened the workshop.
The global economic value of trade in counterfeits is estimated to be over $650 billion (Sh53 trillion), or five to seven per cent of the total global trade value according to a study by the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy Report of 2011.
The East Africa Business Council estimates that the industry loses about $2 billion (Sh164 billion) annually in the region to the illicit trade while data obtained from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers estimates the country’s annual loss to counterfeiters at Sh50.