Nairobi, Kenya, September 26 2011: Anti-counterfeit efforts aimed at netting fake products from the Kenyan market are bearing fruit, indicating a significant milestone for stakeholders seeking to rid the country of the sub-standard goods.
|Some of the fake Nokia products impounded by the Anti-counterfeit Agency, in conjunction with Nokia and Kenya Police, are moved from shops along Luthuli Avenue into a lorry.|
Working in conjunction with the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA), Kenya Bureau of Standards and Kenya Police the raid at various outlets, mainly in downtown, helped confiscate over 11, 000 Nokia items. They included 2071 counterfeit Nokia handsets (enclosed in boxes complete accessories), 330 separate earpieces and 9084 pieces of batteries. On Friday specifically, raids co-ordinated the ACA netted traders at Sky Building along Luthuli Avenue, Nairobi dealing with fake Nokia products. A Chinese owner was found at his residence where he assembles parts to make fake Nokia products.
Mr. Kenneth Oyolla, General Manager Nokia, East and Southern Africa said the anti-counterfeit campaign which the company kicked off in May this year has helped boost public awareness about fake mobile phones, batteries and accessories and how customers can recognize them.
“By and large, this campaign has started bearing fruit not only for Nokia, as the biggest player in the market, but also for the industry as a whole. More importantly, elimination of counterfeits will help save Kenya billions of shillings lost in in tax revenue. We believe this war against has just started and Kenyans will be the biggest winners if we completely eliminate the problem,” said Mr. Oyolla.
He added: “We have introduced a wide array of mobile phones, including dual SIM models, feature phones and smartphones giving Kenyans broad choices at different and very affordable price points. And our consumers have started to take advantage of these offers indicating that they are also learning that one can have a smart and affordable mobile phone. ”
Mr. Oyolla supported the government’s crackdown on counterfeit goods and adding that Nokia will continue with its collaborative efforts through training of Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Bureau of Standards officials to distinguish the fake from genuine Nokia products. Nokia has also been organizing training for immigration officers at border entry points to arrest the entry of fake handsets.
“Our advice is that customers should buy Nokia products from authorized distributors and retailers and ensure they get their 12-month warranty for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. We urge our customers to SMS the IMEI numbers of the phone they want to buy to 8810 and they will get an instant response as to whether the phone is genuine or fake,” said Mr. Oyolla.
According to Mr. Abdulla Hasayen, Nokia’s Brand Protection Manager for Middle East and Africa, counterfeit mobile phones pose a host of risks including dangerous chemicals such as lead and mercury because counterfeiters do not follow safety standards such as radio emissions. They therefore endanger safety of consumers, says Mr. Hasayen.
“Customer care and quality is important to Nokia and our advice is that customers should buy Nokia products from authorized distributors and retailers and ensure they get their 12-month warranty. And if a product is purchased from a location other than an authorized dealer then exercise extreme caution especially when the price is substantially less than being stated by Nokia authorized dealers,” said Mr. Hasayen.
It is estimated that counterfeiting and piracy cost G20 economies US$ 85 billion a year in lost taxes and higher spending on unemployment benefits. The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) has estimated that international counterfeit trade is worth $600 billion a year and makes up 5-7% of world trade.