Kenya has ruled out lifting of a ban on the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes known as Mitumba, anytime soon.
Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Enterprise Development, Betty Maina, said; "Currently, Mitumba 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."
On the resumption of cargo imports by sea and air, and whether any imports might have come through CS Maina said, "There are no Mitumba imports that I know of."
Kenya imports second-hand clothes from China, the US and Europe, with the US and China currently experiencing a surge in infections, and the continued restrictions on Mitumba imports are based on the current increase of infections in these traditionally countries of source of second-hand clothes.
The Trade CS met the Mitumba Association of Kenya on June 22.
"I advised them to develop protocols for dealing with used clothes in the context of the pandemic," said Ms Maina, adding that she advised the traders to also consult the Kenya Bureau of Standards for advice if there's a way or mechanism for handling the matter given the fact that the pandemic has persisted longer than everyone had expected.
"The meeting was an upshot of several constructive engagements that the association has had with the ministry over the past two months following a directive by Kenya Bureau of Standards temporarily banning the importation of second hand clothes and foot wear," said Teresia Wairimu chairperson of the Mitumba Association of Kenya.
"The association is encouraged by the steps taken by the ministry as the country grapples with the high economic hardships faced by traders in the informal sector and specifically those in the Mitumba industry."
The association is optimistic that they will meet the requirements of the protocols soon in order to resume importation of second-hand clothes in the country.