Kenyan small traders, who have been protesting high levies and delays in clearance at the port of Mombasa, will continue paying 35 per cent duty on cheap imported clothes for another year, putting pressure on their bottomlines. This is said to be a result of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s job creation agenda by protecting the local textile industry.
Last year, national treasury cabinet secretary Henry Rotich introduced an import duty of 35 per cent, suspending the East Africa Community’s common external tariff of 25 per cent.
The cabinet secretary said the move was meant to protect the local textile and footwear sector from unfair competition.
Kenyatta has earmarked the textile and apparel sector as one of the key drivers of job creation under his Big Four agenda, as a result of which the treasury turned up the tax-knob on imported clothes.
However, import of second-hand clothes, which experts blame for the death of the country’s textile sector, will not attract higher tariffs.
Last year, Kenya broke ranks with its EAC peers to reduce tariffs on imported second-hand clothes to appease the United States.