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Govt makes u-turn on mitumba clothes

Industrialisation CS Betty Maina has now denied claims that the government has suspended the importation of second-hand clothes popularly known as mitumba.

Ms Maina said that the government has not suspended the importation of mitumba, but it will be much more difficult for businessmen to import second-hand clothes into the country.

This, she said, is because of the caution that is being exercised by the government due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you think just about the number of clothes that you are wearing that are imported, it’s astronomical and yet this is something that Kenya used to be able to produce. So there is opportunity to localise our apparel market, in our apparel supply both for us in Kenya and also for the region,” she said.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe is leading Kenya’s response to the pandemic.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives on Wednesday had tweeted that it has suspended the importation of mitumba in a move aimed at safeguarding the health of Kenyans.

The World Health Organisation says coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing).

It adds that the virus may remain alive for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials, including clothing.