Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Chairperson Amb. Francis Muthaura has called for the imposition of a ban on importation of second-hand clothes into Kenya.
Muthaura says imposing a ban on importation of mitumba will help promote the country's struggling textile industry.
"Ours is a dumping ground for waste and it is terrible. It is time to take the bull by the horns, even if people like US President Donald Trump will make noise about it, we should put Kenya first. Second-hand clothes should not be allowed in because they have caused a lot of harm," Muthaura says adding that the country has been turned into a "dumping site."
He says sectors such as textile and furniture have been neglected yet have the potential of being Kenya's major economic drivers.
"We have a competitive edge but most of these have been left to the Chinese. Unless we have a dynamic strategy in industrialization, we will always be defeated before we even start," he adds.
The East African Community, which is made of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, had planned to stop importing second-hand clothes from the United States from 2019.
However, most members of the regional bloc abandoned the plan after the US government threatened to block them from selling goods to America if they implemented the ban.
Rwanda, which went ahead to ban mitumba, was recently removed from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beneficiaries list. Agoa allows countries in the sub-Saharan region to trade with the US.
"We must start doing things differently. We won't achieve much by being nice and this has to start with border control," Muthaura says.