Industry seeks protection

17 June 2002

The leather industry has petitioned the government to reimpose the maximum suspended duty on imported footwear and leathergoods to protect local industries and to introduce a 10% export duty on raw hides and skins to increase capacity utilisation of local tanneries. They have also asked the government to grant incentives of 20% on export of value added leather products. Industry leaders argue that following the liberalisation of the economy only eight tanneries have remained in operation and are operating at 20% of capacity. The closure of tanneries resulted in a loss of over 2,300 jobs in tanning, 1,200 jobs in the micro enterprises dealing with leather products and 3,800 jobs in footwear factories. Kenya has 16 registered medium and large-scale commercial tanneries with a total investment of $50 million (KSh4 billion). A government press release stated: 'We expect this sub-sector to be revived after the accreditation of Kenya as a beneficiary country under the Agoa. The products under this sub-sector are eligible for export to the US duty free under the Act. Over 18,000 jobs will be created if the sub-sector is revived.

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