East African Business Week brings news that Tanzania's Fair Competition Commission (FCC) is not purely ornamental. The FCC says that last year it impounded and destroyed imports worth US$ 1.2 million (TShs1.6 billion) from some 25 local businesses. FCC Director General Godfrey Enock Mkocha unsurprisingly said most of the counterfeits came from China and other Far Eastern countries, thus confirming what appears to be a general pattern not just in Africa but in Europe too.
While the FCC had not conducted a comprehensive study of the extent of counterfeiting in Tanzania, Mkocha estimated that fakes could add up to 30% of imports -- a volume that would be technically and logistically impossible for the FCC to check individually at the point of entry. Random sampling is therefore deployed. This depends on co-operation from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the general public through tip-offs. While those involved in importing counterfeits face fines or imprisonment, most it seems just pay the fines.