KEBS lifts ban on mitumba clothes importation

By Joel Muinde On Sun, 16 Aug, 2020 15:33 | < 1 min read
mitumba bales
Ms Jane Komu alias Jane BMB, a used-clothes trader at one of her shops in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY

Traders can now resume importation and sale of used textiles and shoes, commonly known as mitumba, effective immediately, says Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).

The lifting of the import ban comes following the development of new guidelines to protect traders and consumers to avoid the spread of coronavirus, KEBS said on Sunday, August 16.

“The guidelines provide a framework for enforcing additional safety measures such as cleaning and fumigation of used textiles and shoes at the country of origin before baling, and at the wholesale or retail stores including surrounding areas every day at the closure of business,” says Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director, KEBS.

The new guidelines also require used-clothes importers to register with KEBS and identify the country of origin of bales to enable their traceability.

“In addition, clearance of used textiles and shoes shall only be undertaken through Kilindini port and the Inland Container Depot Nairobi (ICDN). Traders and interested parties can access the protocols on the KEBS website at,” says KEBS.

KEBS suspended importation of used clothes and shoes in March following the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

But following consultation with WHO and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, among other research centres, KEBS lifted the ban after six months.

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