There can be no more damning verdict on the government’s alleged commitment to improve the ease of doing business than a local importer being forced to apologise to customers for stock-outs and being candid enough to tell them that “Kenya has become the most difficult jurisdictions in the world for clearing international goods”.
Yet, this is not a problem experienced by a few. It is the experience of businesses across the economic spectrum. They all point accusing fingers at the crippling counterfeits crackdown at ports of entry which the government embarked on since the start of the year.
Noble as such a move may be, it has had the unintended consequence of slowing down clearance of genuine products, with some having their goods stuck at customs for months.
These inordinate delays mean the importers are incurring unnecessary extra costs, which they pass on to the customer.
In the worst case scenario, it means that importers are denied much needed cash-flow.
None of these outcomes augur well for the economy. We acknowledge sealing loopholes exploited by merchants of counterfeits, but urge the State to find a method that does not kill genuine businesses in the process.