Tanzania steps up war on counterfeits

Friday February 10 2017

Tanzania's Fair Competition Commission will

Tanzania's Fair Competition Commission will inspect and impound counterfeit goods at airports. PHOTO | FILE 

By JOSEPH MWAMUNYANGE

Tanzania's Fair Competition Commission destroyed counterfeit goods worth over $ 8 million between January and December last year.

The counterfeits were impounded from 24 swoops conducted at several places across the country, as well as 95 regular inspections at the port of Dar es Salaam.

“Of these, counterfeits worth Tsh13.41 billion ($6 million) were impounded during normal inspections at the port of Dar es Salaam and inland container depots (ICDs) within the city, while fake goods worth Tsh5.29 billion ($2.3 million) were confiscated during impromptu raids,” said Godfrey Gabriel, the acting director of the Department of Consumer Protection and Anti-Counterfeits (DCPA). 

“The FCC has managed to destroy goods worth Tsh850.372 million ($380,224) in Mwanza and Dar es Salaam during the same period,” he added.

Confiscated

Among the goods confiscated were ink cartridges, toothbrushes, wines, electrical appliances and equipment, Nokia and Techno mobile phones, razor blades, body lotions, shoe polish, and beauty products.

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Mr Gabriel said the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) has proposed specific personnel for the destruction of different types of goods.

“Currently the destruction of such goods is no longer undertaken at the Pugu Kinyamwezi dumpsite. The counterfeits are now destroyed by crushing and removing parts that can be recycled. The main focus of the commission is to make certain that these goods are completely destroyed. The commission supervises the destruction of such goods in a manner and system that follows laid-down regulations.”

This year, the commission plans to strengthen inspection at entry points.

Together with the Tanzania Revenue Authority, the commission will follow-up on goods entering the country to capture shipments that are suspected of containing counterfeit goods.

The commission has already obtained a permit to inspect and impound counterfeit goods at airports.

“All of these efforts are expected to drastically reduce the problem of counterfeit goods and thus protect consumers in Tanzania,” said Mr Gabriel.

The Commission also plans to train primary school children to understand their rights and obligations as consumers. This training would include education on how they can avoid counterfeit goods.

“The Commission will undertake a pilot exercise to provide such training to primary schools in Morogoro town, and thereafter spread it to other areas taking into consideration availability of resources,” Mr Gabriel said.

The commission’s communication and public relations officer Frank Mdimi said the increase in the worth of goods impounded last year was because traders were now declaring the true value of their imports.

“This administration under President Magufuli has become very tough on imports and their value. The huge amount of counterfeit goods destroyed last year, worth Tsh18.67 billion, could be attributed to the goods in question having their actual value,” said Mr Mdimi.

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