The products which are sub-standard quote low pricing when imported, a situation that deprives the government of big sums of money in foreign exchange. At regional level, the East African states lose about 500 million US dollars (about 700bn/-) annually. Therefore, the presence of counterfeit goods on the local market is an unfortunate phenomenon.
Consumers are concerned that the country has actually been turned into a dumping ground for counterfeits and sub-standard goods. It is also unfortunate that most consumers cannot distinguish between genuine and counterfeit products, thus, making it easier for fake goods to flourish in the local market.
Counterfeiting covers manufacturing, producing, packaging and labelling. It involves making of any goods whereby those protected genuine goods are imitated in such manner they look identical. Counterfeit goods are in many cases used interchangeably and they mean goods that are the result of counterfeiting.
Counterfeiting, to say the least, is a crime whose perpetrators eat into local economy. A big and growing market for both counterfeits and sub-standard goods in the country is also caused by good’s very nature of commanding low prices compared to genuine ones.
This aspect, in fact, prompts the unwary to buy highly offensive, poor quality goods. To solve the problem, we think there is need to formulate and implement sensitization and public awareness on the negative effects brought by fake goods on the economy. People who trade in counterfeits are more or less organized criminals who make huge profits which they then use to interfere with effective enforcement of anti-counterfeits laws and regulations.
These should be fought relentlessly by the State. Tanzania like any other nation around the world is suffering enormously from the adverse effects of the flooding fake products in its domestic market. The impact of these bad goods has not only caused shrinkage in state revenues but also caused societal health problems.
The influx of counterfeit and sub-standard products in the country has undermined efforts by the government to create a friendly investment climate and attract genuine foreign as well as local investors in the manufacturing sector. Tanzania has highly porous borders that have little or no surveillance at all, apart from Tanga harbour, Horohoro, Sirari, Mtukula and Tunduma border posts that have on-site regulatory officials.
The Tanga coastal line (about 60 kilometres long) has 17 landing sites that handle mostly unofficially declared small cargo, some of which may be counterfeit or sub-standard. Similarly, apart from Dar es Salaam harbour and Dar es Salaam airport that have active regulatory bodies, there are many landing sites along the Indian Ocean that cater for small cargo. These include Kisiju (Coast region), Boko (Dar es Salaam) and Bagamoyo.
The border posts such as Horohoro, Namanga, Holili, Tarakea, Songwe and Tunduma have law enforcement authorities but lack expertise for identifying counterfeit and sub-standard goods. And some officials have been blamed for corruption. Given the porous borders with Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, it is difficult to control smugglers. However, all these policing limitations notwithstanding, offensive goods must be flushed out. It is a matter of time.