The war on counterfeits goods is bearing fruits gradually, an Anti-Counterfeit Agency Official has said.
Speaking during a stakeholder sensitization forum in Busia on Friday, the Anti-Counterfeit Executive Director Elema Halakhe said that the number of counterfeit goods found in the market reduced from 23% in 2015 to 15% this year.
“The number has reduced because we have sensitized the general public,” he said adding that the success in the fight can only succeed if the public understand the impact of using counterfeit goods.
Halakhe however argued that the onset of open trade poses challenges as counterfeit goods gain access to the country through the porous borders.
He added that there is need for inter –agency collaboration and bringing Intellectual Property Rights’ owners on board to assist and ensure that the fight succeeds.
“I want to assure the local residents that the government has all that it takes to fight the counterfeit menace,” he said adding that there are plans to review the existing law and tighten multi-agency collaboration.
Busia County Commissioner Michael Ole Tialal reiterated that the porous borders were still a challenge to legal trade.
Tialal noted that there was need to protect the borders and ensure that goods entering the country are inspected.
“Counterfeits are a threat to the economy because it denies the government access to tax hence inability to sustain its development,” he said.
He added that counterfeits are a drawback to the universal healthcare since some of the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals have immediate or long term diseases to innocent citizens who use them.
The CC further said that affordable housing, another big four agenda in the government can also be greatly affected if counterfeit cement is smuggled into the country.
Tialal admitted that the weak link among the law enforcement agencies is to blame as contributing factor to illegal trade.
He urged the county Government to commit more resources and come up with legislation against counterfeits.
“I want to ask all public officers to incorporate and mainstream counterfeits in their daily work,” he said adding that it is not the work of police officers and KRA alone.
The theme of the forum was, combating counterfeits-A national priority in catalyzing the Big Four Agenda in Kenya.
It brought together Government Agencies, Business and community leaders in Busia County.
By Salome Alwanda