The Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) has appealed to Kenyans to aid the war against the proliferation of counterfeit goods and illicit business to safeguard the economy.
Speaking during a 5th edition of County Security Sensitisation meetings for businessmen in Meru County at the Meru National Polytechnic Wednesday, ACA Executive Director Mr. Elema Halake said the country is losing millions of shillings in revenue while at the same time putting the lives of thousands at risk due to the circulation of counterfeit goods in the market.
Halake said the authority has rolled out a national implementation framework that will ensure that illicit trade is wiped out to safeguard manufacturers and consumers from exploitation.
“Although we are still conducting a survey to establish the actual figures, it is estimated that Kenyan manufacturers are losing 40 percent of their market share due to the counterfeit products on the market,” stated the Director.
He revealed that trade in counterfeits poses a major threat to the implementation of the Big Four Agenda of Food Security, Housing, Manufacturing and Healthcare in the country.
The Executive Director disclosed that the authority has engaged a multi-agency approach in the war against counterfeits and called on Kenyans to support the move in to enhance a favourable trading environment.
“We have sealed all border entry points for these counterfeit goods getting into the country. We understand that some of the counterfeit alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are being manufactured within our borders hence the need for collaboration in stamping out the vice,” he said.
Halake noted that the major challenge in the fight is the lack of information among citizens in identifying the counterfeit products, hence the need for more sensitisation.
He said Meru County is a region of interest for the authority owing to its huge agricultural product range adding that unless counterfeit farm inputs are weeded out, food safety and security would be compromised.
Meanwhile Imenti North DCC Mohamood Salim reiterated that Kenyans have to rally behind the war on counterfeits noting that Meru County has realised the adverse impact of trade in contraband goods.
Salim condemned any dealing in counterfeits goods saying it is a precursor to other criminal activities hence a security threat and promised to collaborate with ACA and the county government to apprehend culprits.
“In Meru we have managed to nab contraband goods such as milk and alcohol during our crackdowns and we appeal to wananchi to give leads whenever they come across suspected counterfeit goods in their villages since security cannot be found everywhere at a time,” said Salim.
The DCC further urged all civil servants to be good ambassadors in sharing information on counterfeit goods with the wider community.
He said through simulation of the information, the local resident will be better placed to identify genuine products from the counterfeit ones on the market.
The authority also met security agencies who pledged to intensify crackdowns on contraband goods in Meru and the Mt. Kenya region.
Halake cited mobile phones, alcohol and beverages, DVDs and CDS, bottled drinking water, pharmaceuticals and food products as items commonly counterfeited.
By Richard Muhambe