Kenya government says it will ban second hand clothes, popularly known locally as ‘mitumba’ in a bid to boost the local textile industry to create more job opportunities.

This was revealed by Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, who says the government will ban the import of mitumba clothes after working to revive the ailing local textile sector.

According to Kuria, such a move to boost the local textile industry will increase jobs created in the Kenyan industry from the current 50,000 to five million within the next five years.

“Yes, we are going to ban mitumba once we give the people an alternative. And we’ll give people an alternative, and then we ban mitumba,” said Kuria on Tuesday.

The new CS pledged to work with the textile industry to make cheaper clothes available in the local market and sell clothes to Kenyans at prices similar to those Kenya export to US at.

“You know the price we are selling to America is much lower than mitumba so it’s not a question of price, it’s a question of availability, it’s a question of information,” he noted.

However, manufacturers present raised issues about the high taxation from the government they grapple deterring investments in the sector that in turn create job opportunities.

In response, he pledges to modernize issuance of single business permits, create trade agencies and warehouses in countries with the highest export potential to boost exports.

Speaking while officiating the Changamka Kenya shopping festival in Nairobi, Kuria said Kenya is already working with other countries in Africa to enhance her market share.

Kuria revealed that Kenya will set up export warehouses in different countries with the highest market potential starting with pilot facilities in South Africa, DR Congo and Dubai, UAE.

“So, you can imagine, if you are a respectable country in terms of export, once we start opening the warehouses and opening our trade agencies our exports will boom out there,” he added.

The CS further argues that Kenya has requisite raw materials and manpower to boost the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the GDP from current 7.9 per cent to 20 per cent.

The remarks by Kuria come months after then Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga received a verbal beating from the Kenya Kwanza coalition leaders after he pledged to ban mitumba clothes and promote local textiles, if elected in the August election.