Tanzania: Banned Garments Confiscated in Raid

Arusha — INSPECTORS with the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) on Tuesday shifted the war against imported secondhand inner garments to the popular Korkon market in the city.

The mid-afternoon raid by the government's statutory body sought to establish whether traders at the city market were compliant against selling unhygienic under garments.

During the crackdown, officials with the bureau of standards successfully seized sizable amounts of bales containing the banned garments. The bales were due to be set ablaze by TBS, according to TBS spokesperson Ms Roida Andusamile.

"The raid was meant to establish if the traders were actually complying with the directives set forth by the government," she said, adding:

"It has however come to our attention that a good number of the traders aren't complying with the government's directive, which is why we have opted to seize the inner wears in a bid to destroy them."

Some of the clothes that were seized during the raid include second hand towels, underwear, brassiere and socks.

The TBS official further appealed to the traders at the city market to adhere to the bureau's directives to avoid unnecessary inconveniences and losses that result from such crackdowns.

TBS had since 2009 launched a nationwide crackdown on secondhand undergarments currently on sale at local markets. The crackdown follows Tanzania's decision of outlawing secondhand underwear for health-related reasons.

According to TBS, the operation is aimed at ensuring secondhand clothing is not used by Tanzanians over risks of contracting skin diseases.

It is in accordance with the Standards Act of 2009 that prevents the use of secondhand undergarments.

In February this year, the 20th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State received a review of the textile and leather sector in the EAC with a view to developing a strong and competitive sector that gives consumers better choices than imported textiles and footwear.

The EAC had given itself up to 2019 to begin stopping the importation of secondhand clothes from the United States.

In 2016, the presidents of Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda said taking the move would protect their textile and leather industries.

The move was however met with certain conditions from the United States, with the world's powerful economy warning that should any of the EAC countries endorse the ban on secondhand garments, the partner states would lose the privilege of selling goods to America.

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