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Kenya to resume importing Mitumba under stringent COVID-19 protocols

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16- The importation and sale of used textiles and shoes commonly known as “Mitumba” is set to resume in the country under stringent measures and protocols.

Kenya Bureau of Standards in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade has developed protocols that now require importers and dealers of used textiles to ensure their consignment is subjected to physical examination and certification.

Used clothes and shoes must be cleaned and fumigated before baling.

According to KEBS, each consignment must be packed in clear and transparent and waterproof material.

Additionally, all importers and dealers must be registered with KEBS and adhere to the COVID-19 prevention protocols issued by the Ministry of Health.

“Importers of used textiles and shoes must register with KEBS by filing the registration form that is available and can be downloaded from KEBS website,” KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini stated in a notice.

“Clearance of used textiles and shoes shall be undertaken through Kilindini port and inland container depot Nairobi.”  

A month ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary, Betty Maina in consultation with the Ministry of Health and representatives of the Mitumba trade to establish acceptable protocols geared towards lifting the ban on the importation of second hand clothes and footwear.

The association that represents nearly 2 million players in the Mitumba industry stated had protested the delay to publish protocols by the Ministry saying it continues to negatively impact the livelihoods of Kenyans.

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According to the Association’s chairperson, Teresia Njenga, the industry players had submitted a proposal to the Ministry a month before the President’s directive as part of an agreement with the Ministry.

KEBS issued a public notice on March 31, temporarily suspending the importation of used textiles and shoes as a precautionary measure to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina then said the directive was aimed at safeguarding the health of Kenyans who regularly purchase second- hand clothes.

She said the directive was also meant to promote the local textile industries in the country during a period that has seen other sectors face challenges.

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