Traders exploit demand for imported goods to smuggle counterfeits

A perception by consumers that locally made products are inferior is fuelling the love for imported products, a factor rogue traders have exploited to smuggle counterfeit products in the country.

Coupled with corruption and porous borders, industry stakeholders are calling for increased vigilance to arrest the vice which has seen consumer health put at risk while manufacturers count losses.

As Flora Limukii found out, electronics, alcoholic beverages and pharmaceutical products remain the most counterfeited products.

In recent months, the war on illicit trade has been tightened as counterfeit and substandard goods flood the Kenyan market threatening the growth of the local manufacturing sector.

Industry estimates that the county loses close to 200 billion shillings annually to contraband.

For instance, consumption of fake and substandard alcoholic beverages has led to unwarranted loss of lives as manufacturers also count losses.

Spirits are the most counterfeited alcoholic drinks and this has become a health hazard to consumers and also slowed socio-economic development.

Illicit trade remains a big challenge towards the attainment of 15% GDP contribution by the manufacturing sector with imported goods accounting for the highest percentage of counterfeit goods.

The Anti-Counterfeit Agency is backing a multi-sectoral approach to curbing illicit trade.

It aims at supporting locally produced goods in efforts to promote the Buy Kenya Build Kenya initiative as well as manufacturing as one of the pillars of the Big 4 agenda.

In commemoration of the World Anti Counterfeit Day held on Thursday at Export Processing Zone in Athi River, the Anti-Counterfeit Authority launched the National Action Plan that aims at combating illicit trade.



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