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Kenya loses Sh400 million in taxes daily to illicit trade, new Cofek survey reveals

By Lucas Ngasike | July 3rd 2021

Counterfeit goods being destroyed at Kibarani in Mombasa County.[Kelvin Karani, Standard]

A survey report released by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has revealed that the country loses over Sh400 million in taxes daily through the sale of counterfeit or smuggled goods.

Figures from the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) indicate that the illicit trade cost Kenya Sh153 billion annually, which translates to Sh419 million daily in tax revenue.

The survey shows that sampled respondents confirmed to have come across illicit goods on sale in the country. The poll shows that more than four out of five think the Government is not doing enough to tackle the challenge.

A report on nationwide survey conducted by Cofek, titled Robbed Blind, was released at a webinar on illicit trade on June 30.

The survey of 200 adult consumers (106 male, 94 female) from nine counties was commissioned by Stop Crime Kenya (StoCK), a body that campaigns against illicit trade.

“The disturbing results of our survey show that the trade-in counterfeit or smuggled goods has become all too familiar in Kenya, although a man on the street has no idea of its true, devastating cost,” StoCK Chairman Stephen Mutoro says.

He adds: “Consumers are calling for greater leadership in tackling this menace and say they are willing to join the fight against the criminals stealing our future.

We hope that Government listens to their call to action and realizes that it must reinvigorate its war on illicit trade by reducing corruption, strengthening borders surveillance and enforcing our trading laws.”

The poll revealed that three out of four, a reflection of 77 per cent of consumers would be able to identify whether a product is counterfeit or smuggled goods but nothing is being done.

“We hope that Government listens to their call to action and realizes that it must reinvigorate its war on illicit trade by reducing corruption, strengthening our borders, and enforcing our trading laws,” he says.

Mr Mutoro said anti-corruption initiatives and public awareness are the best means to fight illicit trade, according to the respondents, who overwhelmingly (94 per cent) support citizen action as part of a concerted campaign.

[Lucas Ngasike]


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