The government is currently coming up with guidelines to be followed after it lifts a temporary ban on second-hand clothes (Mitumba) and shoes, giving hope to Kenyan traders and casual workers.
Industrialization and Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has already given the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) the go-ahead to make immediate plans into lifting the March ban without the risk of importing the novel coronavirus.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) had imposed the ban earlier this year in order to curb the spread of the killing novel coronavirus albeit on a temporary basis.
There had been reports of the government toying with the idea of a complete ban on mitumba clothes with the Leather Apex Society of Kenya (LASK) among the organizations that were appealing to the government to impose a permanent ban saying this would give the country an opportunity to re-awaken the local sector.
“It is important for Kenya to induce demand for locally-finished products by keeping the ban on second-hand imports,” said the lobby group.
however, officials of the Mitumba Association have urged the Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development to lift the ban on second-hand clothing imposed in early March by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) to save two million and an additional 19 million who trade and purchase mitumba items respectively.
“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 told journalists. “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.”
Kebs says that before importation, Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), will be required to determine whether or not the coronavirus disease can last over the duration it takes to ship in second-hand clothes.
Other Covid-19 protocols will include repeated fumigation of the merch, going cashless, and adherence to the current measures put in place by the government.