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Mitumba Traders Cry For Help, Urge President Uhuru To Uplift The Ban

Kevin Ochieng

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Since the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic in the world, a lot of business activities have been disrupted.

When Kenya reported its first case in March, many sectors of the economy were shut down to curb the further spread of the virus.

Small scale businesses suffered the most.

As president Kenyatta is expected to address the Nation today, Kenyans are so much optimistic that the Head of State would hear their cry and ease the restriction measures put in place

Secondhand clothes (mitumba) traders now urge the President to lift the ban on the importation of the products. The ban had been imposed on March this year following the first case of coronavirus in the country on march 10th.

Bishop Teresia Wairimu, the Mitumba Association chairperson disclosed that the association has measures to ensure their trade does not increase the spread of the virus in the country.

The ban had been imposed by the Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development  through the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).

However, Bishop Wairimu said the ban has affected close to two million Kenyans who depend on the mitumba trade for their daily survival. She added that last year, the sector had contributed more than ksh13. 4 billion to the economy.

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“Our traders are unable to restock their wares since the ban on secondhand clothes and footwear has interrupted the supply of their wares. This is despite the continued and steady demand for affordable clothes and footwear by Kenyans facing economic hardships,” she said.

The chairperson added that the association has taken measures to engage the Ministry with a view of seeking the rescinding of the temporal measure.

“Two weeks ago we submitted a set of comprehensive business protocols to guide the continued importation and trading of mitumba in the country. The guidelines are in tandem with similar guidelines issued by the Ministry,” she added.

According to Wairimu, the mitumba sector employs about 10 percent of the extended labour force. This is approximately 2 million Kenyans.

“These two million people are distributed in the formal and informal trade sides of the industry in Kenya. The formal traders include those who import, transport and distribute mitumba throughout the country,” she stated.

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