Lobby: Kenya loses Sh200b to counterfeits annually

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya loses an estimated Sh200 billion to counterfeit and illicit goods trade every year, manufacturers have said.

Speaking during the commemoration of the 20th World Anti-counterfeit Day in Nairobi, Kenya Association of Manufacturers chairperson Flora Mutahi (left) said illicit trade affected mainly businesses and Government revenue.

The nature of counterfeiting and illicit trade is such that it tends to thrive where graft and corruption is entrenched, she said.

"Not only does it take away the citizen’s right to quality and genuine products, it also puts their lives at great risk by infiltrating their markets with substandard and, in many cases, highly dangerous goods," she added.

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She, however, commended the latest efforts by the Government in the fight against illicit trade and counterfeits.

She welcomed the establishment of an anti-counterfeit focal point within the Office of the President. She said this was an indication that severity of the impact of the economy was well understood by the country’s leadership.

“We have witnessed the renewed zeal with which the multi-agency task-force has embarked on fighting illicit trade networks through seizures and arrests and we must say it gives us, as investors, impetus to continue in plans for long term investments in the country,” she added.

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Recent investigative activities and seizures by Government agencies and State departments can be seen as an indication that the taskforce intervention was bearing fruit for industry and consumers.

Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo has pledged to expose those engaging in illicit trade.

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“We will expose 'briefcase companies' that discreetly engage in illicit trade,” said Dr Kiptoo. 

He directed that licences of companies that are found to engage in illicit trade be cancelled. 

“We need to expose the theft or misuse of taxpayers’ money by opening up budgets and procurement so that people can see exactly how their money is used and they can demand that people are held to account when it is stolen," he added.

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CounterfeitKenya Association of Manufacturers