The government has lifted a ban on importation of second-hand clothes and shoes, locally referred to as mitumba, effective immediately.
Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) announced the lifting of the embargo on Sunday following the development of new protocols aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.
“The guidelines provide a framework for enforcing additional safety measures such as cleaning and fumigation of used textiles and shoes at the country of origin before baling, and at the wholesale or retail stores including surrounding areas every day at the closure of business,” said KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini.
Under the new guidelines, importers of used clothes and shoes are also required to register with KEBS and identify the country of origin of bales to enable their traceability.
“In addition, clearance of used textiles and shoes shall only be undertaken through Kilindini port and the Inland Container Depot Nairobi (ICDN). Traders and interested parties can access the protocols on the KEBS website at www.kebs.org,” Njiraini added.
In the new rules, traders have been prohibited from importing certain second-hand attires, mainly undergarments.
They include pajamas, nightdresses, nightgowns, patient hospital wear, and used bath towels. Others are women's briefs, men’s briefs, brassieres, camisoles, socks, stockings, petticoat, sandals, slippers, and indoor footwear.
The government banned the importation of mitumba in March after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic.
KEBS said the ban was lifted following consultations with WHO and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.