It is commendable that the Treasury has allowed Economic Processing Zone (EPZ) companies to sell the entire stock in the local market in efforts to protect them from losses tied to a lack of access in the countries to which they sell their goods.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected exports particularly to the US and parts of Europe where airports have been closed to check the spread of the virus.
Allowing the EPZs to sell locally comes only a week after the Industry ministry banned the importation of second-hand (mitumba) clothes. The mitumba ban, therefore, creates a huge market for the EPZ products in Kenya, and if handled correctly, this move has the potential to create a major shift in the way Kenyans buy their clothes, reviving the textile and cotton sub-sectors.
While the EPZ companies have always said they are barred from the local market, consumers, on the other hand, choose mitumba because of affordability and quality.
We ask the EPZ companies to use this window to prove that they are ready to sell in the local market by addressing the pricing concerns while also getting both quality and distribution right.