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Museveni to ban importation of used clothes

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Friday, August 25, 2023

Used clothes shop. (Courtesy)

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has announced a ban on the importation of second-hand clothes – a year after he said the used clothes belong to dead people.

While speaking at the commissioning of 16 factories in the Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park, Museveni urged his countrymen to buy new clothes from the local textile industry.

“We are now going to stop the importation of second-hand clothes. The investors who have invested in textile have now given me a strength to chase away secondhand clothes because there is nobody who will stand in my way,” Museveni said.

The head-of-state also directed a ban on the importation of electrical cables and meters, as of September 1, 2023. He said the devices should be bought from factories within Uganda to promote local industrial growth.

“Our people here, our investors are making meters and cables of electricity, instead of buying from them, we buy from abroad. Therefore, I have ordered all government bodies to buy these meters starting September 1,” he said.

In October 2022, Museveni condemned the importation of used clothes saying the trade discourages value addition efforts and progress in the local industry.

“African markets are flooded with second-hand clothes which are from dead people. We import everything from abroad, yet the raw materials are from Africa hence retardation of growth,” Museveni said at the celebration of Uganda’s 60th Anniversary of Independence.

Uganda’s second-hand clothes imports has risen over the years – generating millions of dollars on annual basis, according to a report by Economic Research Policy Center.

The used clothes imports have on the other way around, become one of Uganda’s major textile exports to South Sudan.

In 2015, the states of the East African Community (EAC) announced that from 2019, second-hand clothes and shoes would be banned from their markets.

But the US has claimed this proposed ban goes too far and violates the Africa under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which aims to expand trade and investment on the continent.


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