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ELECTION 2022

Do not allow counterfeiters to ruin your Christmas and New Year

OPINION
By Flora Mutahi | Dec 19th 2021 | 3 min read

Counterfeiters take advantage of the heightened demand to fill the gap by supplying fake goods in the market. [Courtesy]

Christmas and new year festivities provide an opportunity for families and friends to come together. The families exchange gifts, purchase a variety of items for domestic use and for get-together parties.

The volume of goods purchased and consumed peaks during this period. Immediately after the new year festivities, children return to school and parents once purchase various return-to-school items such as textbooks.

Demand for fast-moving goods is always at its peak during this holiday season. With increased demand, there is the usual necessity to supply goods to meet the demand.

Counterfeiters take advantage of the heightened demand to fill the gap by supplying fake goods in the market. This is therefore a critical time for all of us to be extra vigilant to avoid purchasing counterfeit goods.

Manufacturers, consumers and all parties along the supply chain have a collective responsibility to be vigilant and ensure that trade in counterfeit goods does not ruin our holidays.

Kenya has been negatively impacted by trade in counterfeit goods. According to the National Baseline Survey on Illicit Trade and Counterfeiting conducted by the Anti-Counterfeit Authority, government revenue loss was estimated at Sh129.72 billion in 2017 and Sh153.1 billion in 2018 and continues to grow.

The survey also covered consumer awareness and behaviour change with regard to illicit trade. The study found that 42.09 per cent of consumers have purchased illicitly traded products knowingly, 30.76 per cent were unsure while 27.15 per cent said they have never purchased illicitly traded products. This shows the purchase of illicit goods is widespread and even accepted.

Majority of consumers purchase illicit goods in energy, electrical and electronic sector followed by food, beverage and drinks. Purchases of illicit goods is widespread in all counties.

Manufacturers and trademark owners are key in fighting counterfeiting. This can take the form of public awareness creation, use of technology such as barcoding to make it difficult for counterfeiters to imitate their products, having a secure supply chain and dedicated consumer hotlines through which consumers can make reports or inquiries.

Manufacturers can report instances of counterfeiting to law enforcers for quick action, support investigations and enhance field surveillance through sales teams. All these are important roles to combat counterfeiting.

Manufacturers should empower consumers and law enforcement personnel to identify genuine from counterfeit goods. They should educate consumers on the potential health and safety risks of counterfeit goods.

Manufacturers can also make public information on authorised distributors and retailers so that people can buy genuine products from them. There is also need to provide an easy mechanism for consumers to report counterfeits to manufacturers and relevant government authorities.

Fighting trade in counterfeit goods starts with you. It is the civic and patriotic duty of every Kenyan to compliment government efforts to combat counterfeiting. Shop from authorised retailers and look out for product details, including labels.

Look out for trademark pass-offs, poor language and spelling mistakes. If a product has spills and non-uniform filling or packaging avoid it. If a deal looks too good to be true, it is! Cheap is expensive. Enjoy your holidays.

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