Trade CsMoses Kuria says the government pans to introduce new taxes on imported clothes as a measure to help grow the local textile industry
Kuria says the country has a rich textile sector that should be expanded to benefit Kenyans.
“In the next finance bill or even earlier I will propose a new 25 percent levy in imported apparels because time has come for us to grow our textile sector for the benefit of Kenyans”, said Kuria.
He said imported clothe should be a luxury and not the main souce of clothes for Kenyans.
Kuria made the remarks when he addressed textile sector stakeholders at a forum in Eldoret.
Kuria said he was aware that Mitumba traders would oppose such levies on imported clothe but noted that it was because they had not been given alternative sources of cheaper clothes.
“I agree with mitumba traders because we have not given them alternative. There are no cheaper locally produced clothes for them to sell”, said Kuria.
Kuria however said he would push on with introduction of the new levies on imported clothes because of the long run postive impact on the textile sector in Kenya.
“We have done the same on some of the construction material which can be produced locally and although there was an outcry, we can not backtrack because our focus is local manufacturers”, said Kuria.
He said Kenyans should not be forced to depend on imported apparel yet the country has a huge potential in tne textile sector.
The CS urged playees in the textile industry to each play their role in helping to turn around the textile industry including fortunes of local farmers.
“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”, said Kuria.
He said the textile sector in the country was a broken system employing only 50,000 people yet it can employ millions.
He said those in the textile sector in the country were privileged and should take advantage of opportunities in the sector.
He said Kenyans had for a long time been made to believe in the impossible yet many opportunities were available in the country.
“We have a battle to battle to believe in possibilities. We can be self sufficient in clothe production which is a simple basic matter”, said Kuria.
He said the cotton growing could be expanded in all counties where it was possible to grow the crop.