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 user 2009-04-21 at 11:37:45 am Views: 57
  • #22058
    Counterfeits flood market despite passing of law
    Kenya continues to be a fertile market for counterfeit goods even after Parliament passed a law to tackle the vice.The passing of the Anti-Counterfeit Bill 2008 last year has achieved little in containing the spread of fake products in the local market.Computer technology company Hewlett Packard (HP) has said cases of its counterfeited products continue to be rampant in Kenya and other parts of Africa.”There are well organised groups working in Kenya that manufacture and distribute fake HP products,” said Tina Rose, HP’s Anti-Counterfeit Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. In February, only two months after the passing of the Bill, authorities managed to stop the illicit business of a local manufacturer of fake packaging material for counterfeit printing supplies. In another raid, the Department of Weights and Measures seized almost 5,000 fake security labels for counterfeit print cartridge boxes and confiscated machinery and other equipment used for printing the fake labels.Rose says more than 150,681 HP counterfeit products and components have been seized in Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa over the last six months alone.However, there has been a slight decrease in the cases of counterfeits as governments intensify the crackdown on the illegal trade due to loss of tax revenue.

    Kibaki yet to assent Locally, statistics from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers indicate that businesses are losing a staggering Sh50 billion annually to influx of counterfeit products and illicit trade while the Government loses Sh35 billion annually in tax revenue.Companies like Eveready Batteries, Haco Industries among others have seen their businesses slump as counterfeiters cash in on their brands.Despite the worrying trend, President Kibaki is yet to assent his signature on the new legislation for it to become law.

    Rose said that despite HP investing billions of dollars in high quality packaging and security labels, counterfeiters still manage to fake the components.”Counterfeiting is a well-organised crime and very profitable,” she said.To stay ahead of the counterfeiters, the company is forced to develop new security labels and packaging every 18 months.The company, which invests Sh80 billion annually on research and development, is currently working on new labels for its ink products that will hit the market in eight months time.”We are focused on improving anti-counterfeit programs in Africa,” she stated.

    Across the world, counterfeit and illicit trade is big business.The annual value of international trade in counterfeit goods stands at a Sh16 trillion according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).The vice also drains an estimated Sh50 trillion from the global economy according the World Customs Organisation.This represents the loss of five to eight per cent of trade in brand-name goods worldwide.