Kenya is planning to develop guidelines that will allow the resumption of importation of second-hand clothes and shoes, giving hope to thousands of traders and casual workers who rely on the sector for their livelihood.
Industrialization and Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has given the green light for the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to look into the possibility of lifting the March ban on second-hand clothes and shoes imports, popularly known as mitumba, without the risk of importing the Coronavirus disease that has infected over 10 million people globally.
KEBS imposed a temporary ban on mitumba imports in line with one of its standards, which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics. The move was meant to ensure that disease-causing microorganisms domiciled in those countries are not imported into Kenya.
The decision was taken following the emergence of the now global Covid-19 pandemic. Kenya has since March reported 6,366 positive cases which have resulted in 148 deaths. The country has also recorded 2,013 recoveries. “The mitumba guys have appealed and we have said that we need to work together to develop protocols for dealing with used clothes in the context of the pandemic,” Ms Maina said on telephone.
“We have received their petition and they need to work together with the bureau (KEBS) to advise if there’s a way or mechanism for handling the matter given the fact that the pandemic is going on for a bit longer than people had thought.”
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