The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) on Monday called on government to adequately fund and equip the regulatory and enforcement agencies responsible for cracking down on counterfeit goods that are swamping the local market.
The GMSA praised the Government Analyst Food and Drugs Department (GAFDD) as well as the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) for destroyed products seized from local supermarkets, grocery shops and other retailers biut said those agenices need more support to fight fake goods.
“We have to take this opportunity to once again urge the administration to adequately resource these two departments to allow them to police the local marketplace more thoroughly, to find and destroy counterfeit products and uncustomed goods that were smuggled across our long, porous borders,” the GMSA said in a statement.
The GMSA also announced that that it would ask the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to help clamp down on the increasing quantities of counterfeit products.
“The GMSA intends to engage the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to address complaints of counterfeit importers under-invoicing their shipments, and to request that the thorough screening applied to outgoing containers be similarly applied to incoming cargo which would help to identify the importers of counterfeit products,” the association said in a statement.
The North American and European principals of a number of authorised distributors in Guyana have already instituted legal proceedings against a few illegal importers in Guyana.
The Association said it has been working unceasingly with its partners in Canada (TFO and CESO) and the Caribbean (Caribbean Export) to promote the manufacture of Guyanese products that meet high international quality standards.
A member of the umbrella Private Sector Commission (PSC), the GMSA warned that flooding of the local market with inferior counterfeit products amounted to unfair competition and product dumping that would hurt the business community. “The ramifications of it being allowed to continue include a severe contraction of entrepreneurship in Guyana,” added the association.
The presence of fake Golden Cream Margarine, Del Monte, Stihl and Proctor and Gamble products have in recent weeks raised concerns about the flooding of the local market with such products. Peanut butter, beauty, hygiene products, industrial equipment, spare parts, machinery and tools are among the list of counterfeit items.
The GMSA called on every business support organisation, every regulatory and social grouping (NGO) to confront this scourge and bring it to an end.
The association also warned consumers about the risks involved in using counterfeit goods that are taking over Guyana like a “fast growing epidemic” over the past two years.
The GMSA noted that the counterfeited products fail to meet all safety requirements and across the board, they expose consumers/end users to personal injury and health-related dangers. According to the business organisation, the food products, when they are returned by consumers seeking replacements, are often found to be expired, and contain ingredients that do not meet the standards set by the authentic local and foreign manufacturers.
“As if the dangers are not enough, the counterfeit products are priced to undersell the authentic, long established brands which the manufacturers spent decades building and perfecting.
Their most pressing concern is that the counterfeit products will erode consumer confidence in their own after they (consumers) would have discovered that their purchases could not be repaired or replaced since they were not under the authentic manufacturers’ warranties,” added the association