Mitumba clothes for sale in a Nairobi market. The clothes are on the rise in the country, according to latest statistics.  [Photo/]

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Data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that the import bill for mitumba (second-hand clothes) grew by 8.2 percent in the second half of 2017 as compared to 2016.The increase shows that Kenya spent Sh6.6 billion as compared to Sh6.1 billion spent in the first half of last year.The data further indicate that the mitumba volumes grew by 12.4 percent to 69,862 tons from the 62,158 tons imported at a similar period last year. This comes as Kenyan textile exports dropped by 30 percent to Sh1.8 billion in the first half of 2017 compared to the Sh2.6 billion registered at a similar period last year.A joint restriction on mitumba clothes and shoes has been discussed by the EAC bloc over the last two years without any conclusive decisions. The mitumba imports have grown rapidly in the last two decades leading to decline or collapse of industries in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.The Kenyan market has been said to prefer mitumba clothes and shoes due to their fair pricing, design and high quality and its restriction will be rejected by the masses.