Residents of Busia County have been urged to be wary of illicit goods as they negatively affect the sale of local products.
Speaking during a sensitisation forum for the multi-agency team on the fight against counterfeits in Busia on Thursday, the CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Phylis Wakiaga said that illicit trade had affected local manufacturers negatively.
Wakiaga added that trade in illegal goods also affected revenue collection alongside leading to closure of local industries.
‘So we have come here to sensitise the enforcement agencies along the border so that we can join hands in the fight against illicit trade,’ she said.
She pointed out that 40% of goods being sold in the country are counterfeit according to a study carried out by KAM in 2012.
The official at the same time said that counterfeit goods are health hazards adding that it also leads to unemployment since local industries are not able to make profits.
‘ We want to tell Kenyans that these illicit goods are harmful to their health and leads to unemployment because local industries cannot compete favourably with counterfeits,’ she said adding that citizens should ensure that they only purchase legitimate goods.
The Deputy Director of Anti Counterfeit Authority Dr.John Akoten urged residents to report those engaging in illicit trade to the relevant authorities.
Akoten cited the porous border as a major challenge in the war against counterfeit explaining that most illegal goods pass through non designated points.
‘Another challenge is that boda boda riders are being used to transport such goods into the country,’ he said adding that some of those who engage in the trade are ignorant of the consequences.
Busia county commissioner Jacob Narengo reiterated that the war against counterfeit was complex and required concerted efforts from the relevant stakeholders.
Narengo stated that the road block erected near River Sio has helped in taming the trade in contrabands.
‘As a county we have slate every Thursday of the week to crackdown on illicit brews, contraband goods and smugglers,’ he said.
He at the same time said that his team was working closely with the Ugandan counterparts to ensure that locals engage in legitimate trade and pay tax as required.
The forum brought together Kenya Association of Manufacturers, KRA, Anti Counterfeit Authority, Customs officers and County Security team.
By Salome Alwanda