Most Kenyan traders import second-hand clothes and shoes from Europe, Asia and North America for sale in open-air markets or stalls in various parts of the city, but ever since coronavirus set foot in Kenya things have changed. Last week, the government suspended importation of second-hand clothes into the country to safeguard the health of Kenyans and promote local textiles amid coronavirus pandemic.
This followed an update by the World Health Organisation that the deadly virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets from a person infected by the virus which remains alive for hours or days on surfaces made from a variety of materials, including clothing.
Now, government agency, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has banned the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes popularly known as Mitumba, a more precautionary measure in the wake of increased cases of COVID-19 in the country. KEBS also noted that no shipments of used garments or footwear from any countries battling the virus will be allowed into the country.
”As a precautionary measure, KEBS wish to notify the public and all Importers of used garments (Mitumba) and used shoes that the importation of used garments and used footwear, is hereby prohibited with immediate effect, until further notice,” read a notice.
Thousands of small businesses will be affected by this directive, as the mitumba sector has been thriving industry creating employment opportunities for youths and a reliable cash cow for many. COVID-19 continues to threaten lives across the globe affecting the economy as government impose stringent measures to prevent its spread.