Shoplifters could soon be handed a jail term of up to 20 years, same as cybercriminals who rob banks.
This is if the next Parliament passes the Trade Remedies Bill, which contains a raft of regulations aimed at controlling and protecting the retail sector.
Currently, the Cyber Security and Protection Bill, which is also yet to be passed by the House, proposes a fine of up to Sh20 million or 20 years in prison for cybercriminals, especially those targeting banks.
“We intend to be very tough on shoplifters since they are hitting retailers with heavy losses. The new regulations will propose that such criminals be treated like cyber terrorists who target banks,” said Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo yesterday at the ongoing Kenya Trade Week in Nairobi.
The proposed law also suggests the development of structures that would see the creation of a tribunal for rental dispute settlement to mediate disagreements between suppliers and retailers.
“We don’t want the same scenario in the future where suppliers and retailers run to the Government to have their payment disputes settled. Like the issue where suppliers are claiming over Sh40 billion from retailers. We will create an independent tribunal that will handle such disputes without the Government being involved,” said Dr Kiptoo.
The PS regretted that suppliers and local retailers carried out transactions without formal agreements, making it difficult to settle disputes between them.
“Currently, only the new French retailer Carrefour has formal trade agreements with all the suppliers it is dealing with,” he said.
During Monday’s opening of the Kenya Trade Week, the Trade ministry unveiled the National Trade Policy which, among other things, recommends the development of a national framework whereby different sectors in the economy will be required to formulate complementary policies. [Lee Mwiti]