The Ministry of Industry and Trade in a bid to improve quality of products is enhancing partnerships with local textile and apparel sector. The partnership between the government and private sector is aimed at fast-tracking the â€˜Buy Kenyan, Build Kenyaâ€™ initiative, said CS Adan Mohame, Cabinet Secretary industry investment and trade during the second SME FEST held on 21 Marsh in KICC Nairobi.
One of the most interesting and new developments that will be seen is the recent waiver of duties and taxes on the apparel, clothing and garments that will be captured in their Export Processing Zone entities that will now be sold in the Kenyan market without VAT and without duties.
Speaking during a tour of Athi River-based Hela Clothing Ltd, Mohamed said that it expects good news for the sector at a time when the Textile and Apparel industry globally expects a tougher year due to uncertainties of the global economy.
The $6 million (Sh617.70 million) undergarment production facility has so far exported $1.5 million (Sh154.43 million) worth of undergarments in 6 months to US clothing conglomerate Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation through its well known brands such as Calvin Klein and Victoria Secrets.
Their export target of $50 million (Sh5.15 billion) worth of intimate goods to the US and Europe in 2017 is representative of the type of new investments they encourage. That the company will be employing 5,500 workers by 2018 is the direct effect of their efforts to spur industrialisation.
This is the countryâ€™s first undergarment production facility which is also aimed at slicing Kenyaâ€™s clothing import bill currently at over $815 million (Sh83.86 billion).
Today, a pair of jeans manufactured here by some of their export processing entities that retails in the US between $48 ( Sh4,939.2 )and $50 ( Sh5,147.5 ) will be made available for Kenyans for as low as between Sh400 and Sh600, Mohamed said.
He sought to assure Kenyan textile and apparel manufacturers of government support ahead of a relatively tougher year. This is due to a stronger US dollar, implications of the US new administrationâ€™s new policy regime on African Growth and Opportunity Act and the stalling European Unionâ€™s Economic Partnership Agreement deal with the East African Community.
The ministry will host a clothing fair set between March 29 and 31 at the KICC grounds. The exhibition will showcase high fashion, top quality apparels including trousers, shirts, jeans, jackets and undergarments.
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