Moses Kuria
Image: The-Star

Moses Kuria, the Trade Cabinet Secretary, has stated that he will propose the establishment of new levies on imported clothing to support the development of the regional textile industry.

Kuria claimed that Kenya has a thriving textile industry that ought to be developed for the benefit of Kenyans.

"In the next Finance Bill or even earlier, I will propose a new 25 per cent levy in imported clothes because the time has come for us to grow our textile sector for the benefit of Kenyans," Kuria said.


According to him, Kenyans shouldn't rely primarily on imported clothing and instead should consider it a luxury.

On Monday, Kuria addressed participants in the textile industry at a symposium in Eldoret.

The CS acknowledged that Mitumba traders would object to such duties on imported clothing, but he pointed out that this was because they had not been provided with access to cheaper sources of clothing.


"I agree with Mitumba traders because we have not given them an alternative. There are no cheaper locally produced clothes for them to sell," he said.

Kuria, however, declared that he will continue with the implementation of the additional levies on imported clothing due to its favourable long-term effects on the textile industry.

"We have done the same on some of the construction materials which can be produced locally and although there was an outcry, we can not backtrack because our focus is local manufacturers," Kuria said.

He said that despite Kenya's enormous potential in the textile industry, its citizens shouldn't be compelled to rely solely on imported clothing.

The CS invited participants in the textile industry to perform their part in reviving the sector and improving local farmers' livelihoods.

"Our farmers are very enthusiastic and ready to play their role in cotton production. We just need to give them all they require and they will produce enough," Kuria said.

He said that the textile industry, which only employs 50,000 people but has the potential to employ millions, is a dysfunctional system.

According to Kuria, persons working in the textile industry are privileged and should take advantage of their chances.

He claimed that despite the fact that there were several opportunities accessible, Kenyans had long been led to believe that nothing was possible.

"We can be self-sufficient in clothing production which is a simple basic matter," Kuria said.

In all counties where the crop could be grown, he claimed, cotton could be grown more widely.