The second-hand garments called ‘mitumba’ that Kenyans prefer for their low prices and variety may soon get costlier, if the Government accepts the suggestion of the local textile producers to subject them to tax.
With the industry lobby group African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF) in the lead, Kenyan textile producers are seeking introduction of the tax on second-hand garments and using the proceeds generated there from for creation of a Sh 300 million Stabilization Fund for cotton growers, kbc.co.ke reported.
A study undertaken by ACTIF on the Kenyan textile sector, whose performance has been waning over the past three decades, blamed large number of policy slip ups for pushing the domestic cotton textile industry to the brink.
The Stabilization Fund would help the Government protect cotton farmers against international price fluctuations, due to which farmers are losing most of their earnings, former Permanent Secretary of Trade in the Ministry of Trade Margaret Chemengich, who compiled the study, said.
Ms. Chemengich said the fund would aid fixation of minimum support price for cotton to generate returns of at least Sh 40 per kg for growers, funding seed production and establishment of ginneries and mills to ensure processing of seed cotton at fair prices.
The ACTIF report also suggested that as a part of textile policy interventions, Government should increase the procurement quota for uniforms for public officials. ACTIF Executive Director Rajeev Arora said this would ensure enhanced local sourcing and also boost the sector’s employability.
The report recommended that the Government should prioritize procurement of towels, sheets and linen for hospitals from domestic producers.
Kenya produces 12 million square metres of woven fabric per year, which is not even 7 percent of its overall domestic requirement, while the rest is imported.
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