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Govt destroys counterfeit goods worth Sh10m

Friday February 22 2019

Counterfeit

Counterfeit goods are destroyed at Bamburi Cement Factory in Mombasa on February 22, 2019. PHOTO | BRIAN MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WACHIRA MWANGI
By WACHIRA MWANGI
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The national government on Friday destroyed illicit goods worth Sh10 million at Bamburi Cement Factory in Mombasa.

The Multiagency Anti-Illicit Trade Outreach destroyed the goods that included rice, beauty products and shoes seized between 2017 and 2018.

Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said the action will go along way in snuffing out the trade.

He said that the team, launched in May 2018, has so far confiscated Sh8 billion worth of illegal goods.

"Left unchecked, illicit trade, especially in counterfeit goods, will be the biggest impediment to achieving our economic goals that are anchored on the 'Big Four Agenda' and Vision 2030," Dr Kiptoo said.

BUSINESS

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He said fighting the illicit trade also protects Kenyans from consuming harmful products.

Dr Kiptoo observed that the counterfeit industry promotes unfair competition, depriving honest businesspeople of adequate income.

"By destroying these products, it is my hope that we are sending the right message to our investors. Kenya is your destination of choice for investment. We also want to send a strong warning to the economic saboteurs that we will not condone trade in illegal goods in this country," he said.

The team is finalising a framework that will provide a roadmap for collaborative efforts in combating bootleg goods.

REVENUE

Weights and Measures Department Director Michael Onyancha underscored the adverse effects of illicit business, which he said denies government tax revenue.

A 2017 survey by the Anti-Counterfeit Agency indicated that some of the most counterfeited items include mobile phones, electronic products and alcoholic beverages.

The agency's Executive Director, Mr Elema Halake, noted that the environmental and economic costs associated with destroying illicit goods, which cost between Sh80-100 per kilo, are an unnecessary burden to taxpayers.

"We continue to spearhead efforts to make Kenya a counterfeit-free nation so that we can achieve the Big Four Agenda," Mr Halake said.

He added that they are setting up full-time operations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Inland Container Depot in Nairobi as a measure to boost the war.