Statistics show that illegally manufactured, substandard and fake products, mostly imports, account for between 35 and 40 per cent of all goods in the local market.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Thursday during the launch of newly introduced products in the market, the General Manager of CASA Home appliances Limited a Masumin Group Company Radha Natarajan urged the Tanzanians to refrain from purchasing fake products because of their side effects which touch both the government and consumers.
He further said that in order to avoid turning Tanzania as dumping place of fake products and outdated products, people should create a culture of buying genuine, brand new products, serviceable and repairable products rather than buying products that outdated, fake and that cannot be easily repaired.
Most counterfeits are said to enter the market through illegal routes, and therefore it is the public’s role to tip off relevant authorities and ensure that fake and substandard products are removed in the market.
The consequences of counterfeiting affect everyone in the country, with governments, businesses and society being robbed of tax revenue, business income and jobs.
The flood of counterfeit and pirated products creates an enormous drain on the global economy by creating an underground trade that deprives Governments of revenue for vital public services and imposes greater burdens on taxpayers.
In the country there is a number of fire accidents reported and investigations as to the cause of the inferno concluded that it was the fake and substandard electrical equipment used which could not withstand the pressure from electrical volts flow which eventually blew up, destroying the homes to ashes.
Natarajan further noted that in order to address the problem of throwing away of products after using them, CASA has introduced in the markets products that are serviceable and repairable and re use them instead of throwing them away.
He said the newly introduced products have the best quality, and price that are not comparable to any products that available in the market.
He mentioned some of the serviceable and repairable products introduced by CASA as electric rice cooker, iron box, kettle, and rich filter coffee, among more.
“The motive is to give the best international products not only to Tanzania but also to Africa in general. We have to reduce our wastages, by not throwing away the products we buy,” he urged.
Various categories of fake or substandard products include machinery and vehicles, home appliances, electronic communications, solar energy and related products, consumer goods, building material, chemical, medical and comprehensive products.
Other sources show that the government through the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and other organs has been waging war against counterfeit products. But it seems it has not yet won that war!
Counterfeiters are involved in the illegal production of knock-offs in virtually every area - food, drinks, clothes, shoes, pharmaceuticals, electronics, auto parts, toys, currency, tickets for transport systems and concerts, alcohol, cigarettes, toiletries, building materials and much, much more.
“When a person purchases something, he/she expects it to work without worrying about the dangerous impact it can have on his/her health or safety. For example, a substandard plug can start a fire in his/her house and destroy all his belongings.
He further cautioned that consumers ought to be careful when making purchasing decisions noting that cheap can become expensive. The price value of sub-standard batteries could be lower, but if it can only work for two hours while the original ones may work for one month, one can easily determine that it is more prudent to buy the genuine product.
To him counterfeiting is also theft of intellectual property because counterfeits may sometimes look as good as the original through packaging imitation usually of well-known products.
However, in a report called ‘Effects of Counterfeit and Sub-standard Goods in Tanzania’, the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) estimates that Tanzania could be losing between 15 to 25 per cent of the total domestic revenue due to counterfeit products.
This means if estimated total government domestic revenue was 6.7 tn/- in 2011/2012 subsequent loss in government revenue due to counterfeit products stood well over 1 tn/-.
The study reveals that business people dealing with counterfeit products are able to sell more products at less cost thus reaping huge profits compared to those dealing in genuine products.
“Businesses dealing with genuine products face stiff competition from counterfeit dealers,’’ notes the CTI report, adding that unemployment caused by large imports of fake goods is big.