“Counterfeit products stifle and suffocate legitimate businesses. Illicit trade in these counterfeits is a threat to commerce and industry world over.” These were remarks by His Excellency Governor Francis Kimemia when he officially opened a consultative forum for various stakeholders organized by the Anti-Counterfeit Authority in Olkalou today.
In a speech read on his behalf by the CEC for Education, Culture and Social Services and also acting County Secretary Hon Stephen Njoroge the County Boss decried the proliferation of counterfeit in Nyandarua County which has had a very negative impact on agriculture and endangered public safety. “The huge demand for agrochemicals and other agricultural products including seeds and fertilizers has fueled the upsurge of counterfeits in our County that has agriculture as our economic mainstay. The entry of poor quality seeds and other inputs has led to huge losses for our farmers and serious cases of pollution,” the Governors speech read.
The Governor also identified the market for electrical and various hardware products in Nyandarua as having been infiltrated by counterfeiters.”Even the market for alcoholic beverages has been flooded with counterfeits most of which pose a mortal danger to the health of our residents.” The County Boss observed.
Illustrating the need to combat counterfeiting Governor Kimemia said a youth from Ndaragwa who is a student at Kenyatta University, Simon Karanja has come up with a novel innovation of a prototype medical swab for testing COVID 19, a first of its kind in Africa and the third one in the world. “We need to protect such innovations which are seriously undermined by those who reap from other peoples original work and ideas.” The Governor said.
Cabinet Administrative Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Lawrence Karanja said that the government loses billions of shillings to trade in counterfeits with a baseline survey showing that the loss of revenue was KES 129.72 billion and KES 153.1 billion in 2017 and 2018 respectively. “Counterfeits are also a major threat to our manufacturing sector and dim our countrys prospects for industry-led trade development.” The CAS said.
On her part the Deputy Governor Her Excellency Cecilia Mbuthia thanked CAS for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise for the focus he has had on Nyandarua noting that this was his fourth visit to the County in as many weeks. The DG reiterated the Governors position on the need to protect Nyandarua farmers and residents from the unscrupulous traders dealing in counterfeits.
Present during the opening of the sensitization forum that had brought together representatives from various sectors included the Executive Director of Anti-Counterfeit Authority Elema Halake, CEC for Public Administration, ICT and Enforcement Hon Mary Anne Gathigia, Deputy County Commissioner Gideon Oyagi, several chief officers from Nyandarua County, senior law enforcement officers, administrators from the two levels of government and other officials from national and county governments.