By BENNIE MUNDANDO
COUNTERFEIT products flooding the country will not only freeze legitimate local businesses but will have a telling effect on revenue collection by Government, says 3RD Liberation Movement (3 RD LM) president Enock Tonga.
Speaking to the Daily Nation yesterday in the wake of counterfeit products which were seized by police in Matero Township in Lusaka, Mr. Tonga said just like smuggling, production of counterfeit products is the cancer eating the fabric of the economy.
Mr. Tonga said there was need for Zambia to declare total war against counterfeit products and that those found perpetuating the scourge must be dealt with accordingly because it was not only an economic but a health issue.
He said this was because no one certified such products which found their way into the market and consumed by the general public, under the guise that they were original products.
“We must declare zero tolerance towards individuals producing and offloading fake products on the market.
These products are not only a health hazard because they are not certified by anyone but their hygiene standard cannot be ascertained.
“As a result, companies producing original products are losing business and when companies lose business, then it means the Zambia Revenue Authority will not collect enough and the country won’t meet its expenditure,” Mr. Tonga said.
He said Matero had been known for such notorious activities and that something must be done to increase police presence in the area so that the practice could be stamped out.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tonga has called for stiffer penalties for companies involved in smuggling of products into the country saying some people were in the habit of tampering with import tariff codes by misclassifying goods at the ports of entry to avoid paying duty.
He said smuggling was a crime and that anybody found tampering with the tariff codes must be severely punished because Section 149 of the Customs and Exercise Act CAP 322 of the Laws of Zambia was clear about smuggling.
“Zambia is supposed to be a trade hub because of its land-linked status where all its eight neighbours must be free to trade. Our products must cross borders and be accessible in other countries and likewise, other products we cannot produce must be imported from other countries.
By BENNIE MUNDANDO