The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) has called for the enactment of a comprehensive law and formation of an agency to spearhead the fight against the manufacture and importation of counterfeit goods.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday at the opening of a stakeholders’ meeting called to discuss laws and regulations relating to counterfeit and sub-standard goods in Tanzania, CTI Chairman Dr Samwel Nyantahe warned that the situation is deteriorating as some factories have been constructed mainly to manufacture fake goods for certain countries, including Tanzania.
Dr Nyantahe explained that Tanzania has several laws and policies relating to fake goods, but they do not address the problem fully.
He also underscored the need to have a single agency to deal with counterfeits.
“We have agencies, laws, policies and the Fair Competition Commission (FCC), but we are yet to succeed. We want to have a specific law to address the problem,” he noted.
The problem of counterfeits touches everybody and so concerted efforts are needed to combat it, he said, adding that there is no need to blame the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and other authorities, but rather chart ways to curb the menace.
Meanwhile, a legal consultant (Intellectual Properties), Adam Mambi said in his presentations that the country’s related laws don’t even define counterfeit, hence causing difficulties for responsible authorities to address the problem.
The current law, Merchandise Marks Act has not defined sub-standards and counterfeits, he said, adding: “Tanzania lacks specific and comprehensive law to address counterfeits”.
Mambi gave the examples of Kenya and South Africa, who he said are now making their way through in the fight against fake goods by formulating specific laws. He said the Kenyan law gives a broad definition on counterfeits.
He mentioned some of the challenges hindering the fight against fake products in the country as corruption, lack of public awareness, human resources, lack of coordination and capacity building for stakeholders like the police and customs officers.
Reached for comment, Deputy Trade and Industry minister Lazaro Nyalandu concurred with the CTI suggestion, saying the government plans to give more legal powers to the FCC so that it can execute investigation and arraign suspects.
He said currently the problem is addressed by FCC and the Tanzania Bureau of Statistics (TBS).
TBS is responsible for controlling the quality and standard of manufactured and imported products, while FCC goes beyond standards, checking trade mark ownership and protection of intellectual property, he said.
“We want to give more legal powers to FCC to execute investigations and file cases against suspects,” he said.