Mitumba traders countrywide can sigh with relief after the state lifted a ban on the importation of second-hand clothes after nearly four months.
The restriction had affected the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes said to benefit over two million people financially.
The government halted the importation of second-hand clothes as a precaution to aid in curbing the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 virus.
The lift comes just a day after the state issued guidelines for the importation of second-hand items as well as the conduct of wholesalers, retailers and buyers in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the guidelines, used nightwear including pyjamas, nightdresses, nightgowns and patient hospital wear: used bath towels and undergarments including women’s briefs, men’s briefs, brassieres, camisoles, socks, stockings, petticoat, sandals, slippers and indoor footwear were prohibited from import.
Additionally, all importers and suppliers of used textiles and used shoes shall notify KEBS in writing of their intention to import used textiles and used shoes.
Mitumba wholesalers will also be expected to fumigate their stores and its environs every day at the closure of the business as well as maintain an inventory of each consignment and provide details of buyers and their contacts.
They will also be mandated to wear appropriate masks or facial covering at all times while at the workplace and sanitise luggage carts used by customers.
The main source of mitumba imports have been the US, UK, and China that recorded the highest cases of the virus at the time of the ban.
On Wednesday, August 12, mitumba traders protested in Gikomba market, Nairobi, over what they termed as the Government dragging its feet on coming up with protocols to allow importation of second-hand clothes.
The protesters pleaded with Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina to lift the ban on the importation of mitumba citing hardship.
Local manufacturers, however, had encouraged the government to maintain the restriction noting that second-hand clothes had immensely affected local textile industry.