Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has announced plans to introduce a 25 per cent levy on imported clothes in a bid to revive the local textile sector.
He made the announcement on Monday, August 14, at a textile stakeholders’ forum in Eldoret.
Kuria said the new tax would discourage Kenyans from relying on imported apparel and encourage them to buy locally-produced clothes.
He said this would benefit local cotton farmers, textile manufacturers and traders.
“We have a huge potential in the textile sector, but we are not utilizing it. We are importing clothes that we can produce here and creating jobs for other countries. This has to change,” Kuria said.
He admitted that the proposal would face resistance from Mitumba traders, who sell second-hand clothes imported mainly from Europe and America.
Kuria said he understood their concerns, arguing that they had not been given cheaper alternatives by the local textile industry.
“I agree with Mitumba traders because we have not given them an option. They are selling imported clothes because they are cheaper than the locally produced ones. But this is because our textile sector is not efficient and competitive,” he said.
The CS urged the textile stakeholders to work together to improve the quality and affordability of their products and to take advantage of the opportunities in the sector.