The business community in Kampala has protested the ban on the importation of second hand or used clothes.
This followed a pronouncement by President Yoweri Museveni while in Mbale on Thursday that the government will enforce the ban arguing that the importation of second hand clothing undermines the development of local textile industries.
“We have people here who produce new clothes but they cannot infiltrate the market,” Museveni said.
Museveni remarked while presiding over the commissioning of nine factories in the Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park in Mbale city.
“They are for dead people. When a white person dies, they gather their clothes and send them to Africa,” Museveni added.
However, deals in second hand clothes and shoes in Kampala have disputed the move saying they will seek an audience with the President to explain their case.
The development they argued will leave many Ugandans both directly and indirectly without jobs.
According to Lydia Ndagire, the head of the dealers in old clothes and shoes in Kampala disclosed they pay a lot of taxes to the government.
“We import over 300 containers a year, and on each, we pay about sh90m in taxes to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA),” she said.
She added that the decision if effected will cause them massive losses since many of them have already placed orders for Christmas and some containers were already being shipped to Uganda.
However, according to Thaddeus Musoke Nagenda, the chairman of the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), the move will affect many people given the fact that 80% of Ugandans dress second hand clothes since they can’t afford the new ones.
Musoke added the current textile factories in Uganda have no capacity to manufacture clothes for all Ugandans on top of their quality still being questionable.
By Nelson Kiva