Finance Minister Njeru Githae’s proposal to remove taxes on imported second hand body wear -- clothes and shoes -- is a show of contempt for impoverished Kenyans, Industrialisation assistant minister Ndiritu Muriithi has said.
“It is a most insulting notion for a minister to stand in front of local and international media in Parliament to suggest Kenyans love second hand clothes in the 21st century.
“All Kenyans of goodwill must stand up for their dignity and tell the Finance Minister he is wrong, he cannot not be right,” the Laikipia West MP said in a press statement.
Mr Muriithi said the proposal came as a shocker to his Industrialisation ministry which, he said, had worked hard in the last seven years with cotton farmers in Kitui, Tana River, Makueni, Teso, Nyanza and Western Kenya to revive cotton farming.
“Upwards of 50,000 farmers’ livelihoods should not be auctioned at the altar of a handful of mitumba importers. (READ: Mitumba move unwise)
The private sector has sunk hundreds of millions in the last seven years trying to revive cotton ginneries, with over 270,000 jobs at stake.
The government has been promoting cottage apparel, weaving and spinning industries across the country that employs hundreds more. What message is the minister sending to these people?” Muriithi asked.
He said Kenyans were not proud of wearing mitumba, and yearned to afford dignified new clothes.
“If Mr Githae wants to help Kenyans dress better and smarter, let him remove taxes and grant subsidies on machines and equipment used to make clothes, reduce taxation on electricity and local government levies that make fabric manufacturing expensive,” he said.