Mitumba traders appeal to government to lift ban on importation

In Summary
  • According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics,  mitumba sector employs about 10 per cent of the extended labour force
  • The lobby submitted a proposal on protocols to guide the importation and sale of mitumba
Residents of Kwale county purchases Mitumba during their official market day.photo Elkana Jacob
Residents of Kwale county purchases Mitumba during their official market day.photo Elkana Jacob

Second-hand traders have appealed to the government to lift the ban on importation Mitumba, saying many young people risk losing jobs. 

Addressing a press conference yesterday in Nairobi, Mitumba Association chairperson  Teresia Wairimu said the ban put in place in March to contain the spread of coronavirus risk 

“The ban on Mitumba by the government in March 2020, has led to the loss of jobs and negatively impacting millions of households. Mitumba industry employs approximately two million people,” Wairimu said. 

According to the lobby, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not recommended the prohibition of movement of goods or commodities as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.

''We are confident that the fact that there is no credible public health risk and the Mitumba industry-proven willingness to co-operate with additional local fumigation protocol and public health guidelines will rescind the ban,'' the lobby said in a statement. 

The association said that its members are unable to restock their wares since the ban has interrupted the supply. This is despite the continued and steady demand for affordable clothes and footwear by Kenyans facing economic hardships.

It added that bank managers are on their necks for defaulting soft loans taken, forcing them to surrender title deeds as security for lack of alternative modes of earning.

The appeal is coming a week after the lobby held a meeting with Trade CS Betty Maina and submitted a proposal on protocols to guide the importation and sale of Mitumba.

We hope that the proposals laid would be considered. We are ready to comply with the guidelines stipulated by the government through the ministry of health. 

“The Protocols submitted to the Ministry will add a layer of extra health measures for the importation of Mitumba at the country of origin and upon arrival in Kenya,'' Wairimu said. 

Comparative to all other imports including other fabrics, Mitumba will undergo additional disinfection and fumigation. 

 According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics,  Mitumba sector employs about 10 per cent of the extended labour force which translates to approximately 2 million people, both directly and indirectly as a source of livelihood.