NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – Kenya Bureau of Standard has banned the importation of secondhand clothes and footwear in the country, a week after Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina predicted the ban.
In a public notice, the Bureau’s Managing Director Bernard Njiraini announced that the ban is a safety measure undertaken by the authority to avoid the spread of COVID-19 that has put the world’s activities at a standstill.
“As a precautionary measure, KEBS wishes to notify the general public and all importers of used garments or mitumba and used footwears hereby prohibited with immediate effect until further notice,” said Njiraini.
“This is in pursuant to the disease that has now become a global pandemic and in line with KEBS requirements that no consignment of Mitumba and footwear shall be accepted from a country experiencing an epidemic,” he added.
Kenya’s used clothing and footwear are mainly imported from the US, the UK, and China.
The demand has increasingly remained high for low income and lower-middle-class earners who consider the merchandise affordable.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya imported 177,160 tonnes of mitumba that were valued at about Sh17 billion, spending Sh11.96 billion in the first six months of 2019.
The ban is expected to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 81 people in the country.