The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) says it will engage police to pounce on and arrest people who are flooding the local market with counterfeit products.
The bureau says it has noticed a rise in the number of counterfeit and substandard products on the market, especially cosmetic products.
In an interview, MBS chief executive officer Davlin Chokazinga told Weekend Business that the bureau does not take trading of such products lightly as it is has negative effects on the domestic market.
He said the bureau has been failing to arrest the problem because most of the contraband comes to Malawi in parcels.
“Malawi like any other nation around the world is suffering enormously from the adverse effects of the flooding of counterfeit and substandard products in its domestic market.
“The impact of counterfeit and substandard goods has all along been felt from the economic, social and by government departments, manufacturers and traders in the business community and private sector and more so by the general public, particularly the end users [consumers],” he said.
Chokazinga explained that in addition, the influx of counterfeit and substandard products in the country has undermined the efforts by the government to create conducive investment climate and attract genuine foreign as well as local investors in the manufacturing sector.
He said which is why MBS is engaging the police to help the bureau in arresting people involved in the malpractice.
A cosmetics trader plying her trade in Blantyre market, Sella Mhone said some traders import counterfeit products because they are cheaper compared to genuine products.
“Some indeed prefer to order their products from cheaper suppliers because they are affordable and will be cheaper to consumers,” she said.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) estimated the world value of counterfeit goods to be growing from $5.5 billion in 1982 to $ 750 billion in 2007.
Currently, counterfeit products represent up to 15 percent of the World Trade. n