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Government Lifts Ban On Importation Of ‘Mitumba’ Clothes

Second-hand cloth market in Kenya. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has lifted the ban on importation of secondhand clothes (mitumba) that was imposed on March 31 due to Covid-19.

In a public notice published on the local dailies today, KEBS said that it had gotten ‘new’ information from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hence it would allow controlled importation.

“The Government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Enterprise Development, Ministry of Health, and KEBS held several consultations culminating to the development of protocols to guide on the importation and sale of used textiles and shoes,” the notice read in part.

In the new standards and protocols, all used textiles and used shoes intended for importation into Kenya shall be subjected to physical examination and certification under the Pre–export Verification of Conformity to Standards (PVoC) requirements.

Read: ‘Mitumba’ Imports Amounted To Ksh16.9 Billion In 2018 – Report

Also, suppliers of used textiles and used shoes shall notify in writing to PVoC service providers contracted by KEBS of their intention to export used textiles or used shoes. They shall be required to declare information about the goods, from the origin to the exact destination (importer).

Each consignment must be packed in clear transparent and waterproof materials.

For clothes, each bale shall contain a single category of garments, and shall not contain banned clothes such as undergarments.

Among the type of secondhand clothes that cannot be imported into Kenya include used nightwear including pyjamas, nightdresses and nightgowns, hospital wear, used bath towels, used undergarments including women briefs, men’s briefs, brassieres, camisoles, socks, stockings and underwear.

“Failure to adhere to this protocol shall result in rejection of the products and may result in the implementation of any other legal sanctions provided under the law,” KEBS says in regulations posted on its website.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email

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