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State trains its guns on agents who import fake merchandise

NEWS
By Hudson Gumbihi | August 13th 2021
Interior PS Karanja Kibicho during interview on August 4, 2021 at his office Harambee house Annex, Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Clearing and forwarding agents who allow fake goods into the country will be held liable, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho warned yesterday.

Kibicho said traders will no longer be held to account over counterfeit goods. Instead, consolidators will carry the blame since they source for products on behalf of dealers.

At the same time, the PS told the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and Anti-Counterfeit Authority not to punish traders found with fakes.

He argued that such traders should not to be condemned for mistakes beyond their control.

“The frequent harassment of small traders should stop henceforth. If there is any violation of standards, KeBS and Anti-Counterfeit Authority should deal with the problem from where goods are sourced,” said Kibicho.

He added: “It is cheaper to deal with the problem of counterfeit at source. Deploy teams to China and Dubai to conduct inspections.”

The PS made the remarks as he toured the National Cargo Deconsolidation Centre located at Kenya Railways Corporation in Nairobi. 

The facility launched last November is used for storing and clearing cargo for small traders who import in groups through NCDC.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) charges Sh2.2 million per container, with the traders sharing the taxation cost.

Though traders said the facility had saved them on time of travelling, they lamented that the tax was still high.

“We no longer have to go all the way to Mlolongo to collect goods. With this warehouse, the burden of travelling has eased,” said Alice Njuguna, an importer.

A clearing agent, Raphael Papai, said they will ensure traders get genuine goods and asked the government to expand the facility.

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