An inter-agency intervention on counterfeits and other forms of illegal trade has today kicked off in Nyahururu, Laikipia County. The agencies among them Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and others have engaged the business community in workshops that will sensitize distributors and consumers on how to combat the growing sophistication of the vice.
The two-day workshops will take place in both Nyahururu and Nanyuki towns as part of a series of a larger anti-counterfeit programme that is scheduled to be rolled out to major counties identified as hotspots of counterfeits/illicit goods in Kenya.
KAM Chairlady, Ms. Flora Mutahi stated that “According to a study on the vice of counterfeiting in Kenya, which was done in 2012, it is estimated that Kenyan manufacturers are losing at least 40% of their market share to counterfeiters. An approximate Kshs 30 billion (US$ 42 million) is lost by Kenyan manufacturers per year, while the Government loses Kshs 6 billion (USD 80 million) annually as potential tax revenue. Counterfeits also erode brand reputation in as much as they eat into their market share. It discourages continuous innovation into new product lines as innovators are anxious that their products will soon be counterfeited before reaching the targeted markets.”
The Chair also remarked that the Enforcement Manual to Combat Illicit Trade in Kenya launched in 2014 is aimed at aiding in the fight against illegal trade by simplifying laws and procedures applicable to the vice to hasten the judicial process on related cases. However, the fight for counterfeits needs further collaborative efforts because the vice is deeply rooted and continues to find sophisticated ways to avoid detection.
Laikipia Business Forum Chairman, Mr. Daniel Wanjohi stated that creating awareness on counterfeits is crucial in fighting counterfeits and other forms of illicit trade. “We need to educate the business community and consumers in order to reduce the extent of counterfeits and other forms of illicit trade as they conduct their routine commercial activities. Counterfeits not only negatively affect businesses but more importantly are a menace that could prove devastating to the health and well-being of citizens in this country. Consumption of products that have not been standardized means they could be of low quality and therefore dangerous.”
The forums also offer the business community an opportunity to understand the Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008 and similar regulations.
The last day of the forum in Laikipia County will be held in Nanyuki.