EDITORIAL: Enforce stiff penalties to combat counterfeit goods

The police have broken a syndicate that imports counterfeit Johnny Walker whiskies on a large scale. The fact is that there are many counterfeit goods on our streets points to two things; laxity or poor surveillance and inspection policies, and the love for cheap products by members of society.

The police have broken a syndicate that imports counterfeit Johnny Walker whiskies on a large scale.

The fact is that there are many counterfeit goods on our streets points to two things; laxity or poor surveillance and inspection policies, and the love for cheap products by members of society.

But whatever the reasons, public safety should be the priority and authorities need to come up with practical measures to fulfill that mandate.

Just last week, Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) released a long list of banned cosmetic products that were circulating in the country. Just like the alcohol imitations, the cosmetic products are a health hazard and should not have been allowed into the country in the first place.

There is, therefore, a need to revamp pre-import inspections, buy from certified sources and increase testing and detection capabilities for both Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and RSB to make sure counterfeit goods do not invade the local market.

But with counterfeiters coming up with new technologies and near-perfect imitations every day, countering them will be an uphill task. The war should be taken to the backyard of fake goods importers.

Authorities should not just stop at impounding and destroying fake and dangerous goods, those behind the importation should be dealt with firmly.

They should be made to ship the goods back to their sources of origin and also face judicial and financial sanctions.

Otherwise, just like smugglers, they will calculate the risks of detection, with the hope that some of their wares might beat the dragnet. A business person’s Achilles’ heel is their pockets; hit it hard and they will think twice before bringing in fake goods again.

 

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