Museveni: Second hand clothes are for dead people, don’t buy them

Man Jose Kayima

President Museveni has discouraged Ugandans from buying second-hand clothes.

“They are for dead people,” said Museveni in reference to second hand clothes, also known as Mivumba.

“When a white person dies, they gather their clothes and send them to Africa,” he added.

“We should stop wearing them.”

The President spoke while commissioning 16 factories and groundbreaking for the construction of 9 new ones at Sino Uganda- Mbale Industrial Park in Mbale City on Thursday.

In 2017, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi agreed to phase out the second-hand clothes trade by 2019 but only Rwanda implemented the plan, introducing high taxes on second-hand clothes to deter trade.

Museveni attempted to ban the importation of secondhand clothes, arguing that the country was trying to develop its textile and apparel sector.

While meeting U.S. officials in 2017 in New York, Museveni said Second-hand clothes are killing the textile and apparel sector in Uganda.
“Industrialization of this sector is not only good for Uganda but for America as well. As partners the volume of trade grows and creates more incomes,” he said.

However, the President met stiff resistance from the United States which exports large quantities of second hand clothes to Uganda.

The U.S. business association – Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) mobilised American lawmakers to review trade benefits to Uganda under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

SMART argued that the proposed ban of importation of used clothes violated AGOA’s principles of eliminating “barriers to United States trade and investment”, and would impose significant hardship on the U.S. used-clothing industry.

AGOA provides for duty-free entry of goods into the U.S. from designated sub-Saharan African countries, including the EAC partner states, and it applies to both textiles and non-textile goods.

Museveni later gave up on his campaign until yesterday when he visited factories in Mbale which are manufacturing clothes.

“We have people here who produce new clothes but they cannot infiltrate the market because the second-hand clothes are already all-over,” said Museveni.

Currently, the Sino Uganda-Mbale Industrial Park has 36 factories composed of; 20 factories in operation, one factory destroyed by fire, 5 factories under construction and 12 at a stage of assembling plant and machinery.

The Mbale Industrial Park produces a variety of goods such as glass, textiles, household detergents, mobile phones, smart televisions, baby diapers, clothes, LED bulbs, tubes, electric meters and stockings.

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