Trade CS Betty Maina has cleared the air on the ban on mitumba clothes imports, stating that the government never issued a directive banning them.

The CS on Monday, August 11, clarified that she imposed temporary restrictions as the Covid-19 crisis called for the prohibition of the importation of goods from countries facing the pandemic.

This is as international firms continue to pressure Kenya to allow the importation of mitumba. On Thursday, July 30, Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) and the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) urged the Kenyan Trade and Health officials to quickly finalise guidelines for the safe handling of second-hand clothing (Mitumba) imports.

However, the CS stated that it would be better for Kenya to focus on promoting local industries that have benefited from the Covid-19 pandemic through the production of necessities.

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Trade CS Betty Maina being sworn in at State House in February 2020FILE
“There is no ban on mitumba and I think we have made that clear. We are considering lifting the restrictions and we met with Mitumba Association of Kenya and discussed on a few proposals relating to the safety measures required for imports.

“We have also realised that international supply chains have been disrupted and this has given Kenyan firms the opportunity to rise and replace the international companies,” CS Maina stated.

She further asserted that Kenya would be better placed by enriching local firms during the pandemic to enable the country to be prepared for any other global disaster.

Several industries have nonetheless been affected by the pandemic, from hospitality, domestic agricultural consumption to transport. The CS stated that the shrinkages were unavoidable and that the government did not have enough funds to support every industry.

The iconic Intercontinental Hotel is among the latest businesses to announce closure with all employees facing the sack.

CS Maina urged Kenyans to adjust to the reality of Coronavirus staying for long and sympathised with Kenyans who were on the verge of losing their jobs.

“I wish no one would lose their job but some of these things are inevitable. Some jobs will not come back, but we have done our best to minimise those losses through offering stimulus packages,” she added.

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