Tax ‘mitumba’, textile firms plead
SEE ALSO :What it takes to succeedHowever, the impact of more taxes on mitumba is likely to further increase the cost of the clothes and shoes that a majority of Kenyans prefer for their low prices and variety. At the beginning of last year, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) increased taxes on imports of second-hand clothes, with a 20-foot container hitting a high of Sh1.9 million, up from about Sh1.1 million. This doubled the prices of second-hand clothes, which saw traders register massive losses as consumers shunned their stalls. Government interventions The Actif report also recommends that the Government implement a 30 per cent quota in the procurement of uniforms for public officials as part of policy interventions in the textiles sector, which could also see Kenya save up to Sh12.5 billion. The lobby group wants the Government compelled to procure sheets, linen and towels for hospitals and hotels from local manufacturers. Already, local garment manufacturers enjoy 15 per cent preferential treatment in the procurement of Government orders, but they say this has not had the expected impact on the industry. According to Mr Rajeeve Arora, the executive director of Actif, increasing the quota to 30 per cent would strengthen local sourcing. “By gaining this market share, Kenyan textile manufacturers can expand to the extent of employing over 100,000 people, compared to the 2,000 people currently employed,” he said. Kenya is said to manufacture less than 12 million square metres of woven fabric per year, a paltry 7 per cent of the potential market, with the other 93 per cent taken up by imports.