KEBS bans the importation of used garments until further notice
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has banned the importation of used garments otherwise know Mitumba effective immediately.
In a notice sent out to the importers and the public, KEBS said the move was precautionary in light of the new coronavirus pandemic and will be adhered to until further notice.
” As a precautionary measure, KEBS wish to notify the public and all Importers of used garments (Mitumba) and used shoes that the importation of used garments and used footwear, is hereby prohibited with immediate effect, until further notice,” the notice read.
Further, KEBS explained that no consignment of used garments or footwear will be accepted from a country that is battling the pandemic.
The new directive comes just several days Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives CS Betty Maina slammed the government for not suspending the importation of second-hand goods.
Kenyan traders import second-hand clothes and shoes from Europe, Asia and North America which are then sold across the country in stalls and open-air markets.
In 2019, Kenyans spent KSh. 11.96 billion on importation of garments and footwear in the year ending June up by 13 percent from the previous year highlighting Kenya’s appetite for the foreign brands.
The lucrative second-hand clothing market had seen Chinese traders open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba to cash in on the opportunities.
In 2017, Kenya withdrew from the East African Community bloc’s resolution to ban mitumba after American suppliers threatened punitive action.