Sellers of second hand clothes popularly known as ‘mitumba’ have commended the government for lifting the ban on imports, which was implemented late in March to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The Chairman of Mitumba sellers in Nakuru town, James Kimani said due to the high poverty levels in the country, many families cannot afford new clothes and also this business has employed countless jobless youths.
However, Kimani said they would adhere to the ministry of health safety guidelines during handling and selling of the clothes.
Kimani added that they had run out of stock following the unexpected ban early this year and the resultant price hikes, which were beyond the reach of majority of their customers.
At the same time, Kimani said the misconception by the local textile industries that mitumba clothes should be banned for the fabric sector to thrive is a misrepresentation of facts, since all over the world the two have always existed together.
“Our customers are different from their target market, and even if the government was to buy their argument and ban second hand clothes, the move would not automatically boost the cloth industry,’’ he stated.
Speaking in Nakuru on Tuesday, the Chairman noted that it was not possible for textile industries to sell a shirt or dress for Sh.50 yet the majority of their customers were in that level, adding that sometimes they even lower the prices to as low as Sh.20.
Kimani urged the textile industry in the country to seek for better justification for their non-performance instead of using mitumba as the scapegoat whenever they make proposals to the government.
He observed that in countries with a thriving textile industry like India, second hand clothes were of little consequence because those trading in new items have implemented better strategies.
By Veronica Bosibori