Fake goods hurting PNG


FOREIGNERS who are manufacturing and importing fake products and doing other illegal businesses in the country seemed to be doing very well with no worries in the world.
We now find all sorts of fake products in retail and wholesale shops, and we find products like pork, chicken, sausages, noodles, cigarettes, liquor, washing detergents, soft drinks, and other food products sold with labels in foreign languages.
We don’t know if these food products meet the strict ISO-certified standards in terms of quality and safety. We also do not know if the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) requirements were met during production.
Foreign businesspeople know that the country has weak laws and ineffective monitoring and control systems so their products can get in without stringent scrutiny.
They also take advantage of officials who lack integrity and can be bribed.
What has been uncovered so far is only the tip of the iceberg.
Let us not be misled into thinking that foreigners do not know our laws. For goodness sake, they know it because they also have similar laws in their countries.
Yet when they are caught and questioned they always plead ignorance, saying, sorry, they didn’t know.
The people of this country want to see a complete stop to these illegal activities by foreign businesses and any offender caught should be prosecuted and deported as an example to others.
Why are government agencies and institutions responsible for policing and enforcing our laws not doing their job?
I assume that Customs has the right technology in its toolbox, like scanners that can see into containers. What are their checking and tracking systems like?
Are our laws good enough?
Protecting our borders should involve everyone – IRC, IPA, ICCC, Labor, Commerce, Police, Foreign Affairs, Health and Safety, manufacturers’ council and other stake holders.
It would be interesting to know the sort of penalties the courts impose on the offenders. Obviously, the courts can only depend on the type of laws and penalty provisions that are enshrined in those laws.
The Government should do something now to stop the production and sale of fake products. We have many credible businesses in Papua New Guinea and many of them are foreign companies. They are the ones who suffer most because of the few bad apples.

Charles Ifu
Yamox, Watabung EHP