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Friday, July 12, 2024

Government vows to crackdown on counterfeit products

Story by Yolanda Moyo

THE government has expressed concern over the growing presence of counterfeit goods on the market, noting the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to address the problem.

The surge in counterfeit goods flooding the market is threatening the foundation of the local manufacturing sector.

The government is sounding the alarm bells on a growing threat to the country’s nascent manufacturing revival, calling for a multi-pronged approach to curb the proliferation of counterfeit and imported goods in the market.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu said, “Counterfeit goods have since proliferated and flooded our domestic market, posing a huge risk to the consumers, given the fact that the goods being peddled are not tested and certified by the respective standards bodies.  I would like to take this opportunity to ask for the support of the business community, in particular those whose brands are at risk, to collaborate with the government as we endeavour to bring this to an end.

“There is an urgent need to put all hands on deck because the government alone cannot do it.  By the same token, I would also like to warn the perpetrators that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with you. We cannot allow a situation where the counterfeit menace erodes all the benefits we have gained from the introduction of the new national currency.  I am calling on all of us as patriotic Zimbabweans who should put our country first, to act responsibly.”

This comes amid growing concerns from the manufacturing industry about the impact of counterfeit products on their operations.

“Counterfeiting costs the Zimbabwean economy billions of dollars annually and puts thousands of jobs at risk. Companies struggle to compete with the artificially low prices of counterfeit goods, often produced with lower-quality materials and exploitative labour practices. This price war discourages investment in research and development, hindering innovation within the manufacturing sector.  When a company invests heavily in research and development to bring a new product to market, only to see it blatantly copied and sold at a fraction of the price, it sends a discouraging message,” said the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Mr Joseph Gunda.

The CZI estimates that the influx of counterfeits has resulted in significant job losses across various sectors, including clothing and footwear, electronics and pharmaceuticals.

According to the Consumer Protection Commission, about 2000 businesses have been prosecuted for short-changing consumers since last year as the government tightens screws to curb the trading of underweight and counterfeit products.

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