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Uhuru directs ministries to issue guidelines for ‘mitumba’ importation

By Christopher Owuor
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Mitumba clothes. Photo/Courtesy

PROTOCOL: President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered that protocols guiding importation and trade in the second-hand clothees be established.

Speaking during his state of the nation address where he announced a phased re-opening of the economy, Uhuru called for protocols that would lead to the resumption of the business.

“The Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development shall establish protocols for the resumption of the importation and sale of imported second-hand clothes,” he said.

Contentious matter

The ban was imposed by Kenya Bureau of Standards in March as part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, a contentious matter that experts dispelled, saying shipments are cleaned and fumigated at source with a health certificate issued before exported.

Mitumba Association of Kenya coordinator Peter Wachira welcomed the president’s move, saying it will ease the financial burden upon members.

“After the president’s pronouncement, I hope the process will be fast-tracked for the importation to resume,” he said.

Wachira said the sector which employs 4 million directly, and an additional 24 million benefiting indirectly, lost over Sh600 million since the onset of the pandemic.

Richard Ngatia, President of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry said now businesses will gradually resume operations to enable resuscitation of the national economy particularly the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

“However, I would like to echo President Kenyatta’s call that this calls for high individual responsibility abide by all the health protocol guidelines to be able to flatten the curve,” he said.

“As the chamber, we will work closely with all government agencies to see to it that no business premises, facility or establishment operates without being 100 per cent compliant.”

The chamber will continue to liaise with business owners’ to ensure that the requisite provider protective gears for their workers, notably face masks and sanitisers as well as ensure customers are fully compliant with all the health guidelines including social distancing.– Noel Wandera

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