Kenya rules out lifting ban on importation of second-hand clothes

REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

The Kenyan government will not lift its ban on the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes despite pressure from various quarters to do so.

Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Enterprise Development, Betty Maina said the importations of the items were stopped because of the health risks they pose.

“Currently, Mitumba (second-hand items) imports from countries that are facing the COVID-19 pandemic are restricted. The protocols in place restrict importation of second-hand clothes from virus prone countries. We are only trying to comply with that protocol,” The East African newspaper quotes Maina.

Kenya imports second-hand clothes mainly from the U.S., China and Europe, but the COVID-19 situation in these regions have meant the East African country can not obtain the items as usual.

The second-hand clothes are common among Kenya’s low-income earners, and are especially favored by Kenyans living in the rural areas.

A report by The East African says Maina met with the country’s Mitumba Association of Kenya in late June, where she urged them to develop standards and protocols for safe importation.

“I advised them to develop protocols for dealing with used clothes in the context of the pandemic,” she said.

The association expressed optimism that it will meet the requirements of the protocols soon in order to resume importation of second-hand clothes in the country.

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