Kenya shoe im­ports in­creased 17pc in quar­ter three of last year

Business Daily (Kenya) - - MONEY & MARKETS - James Kar­iuki jkar­[email protected]­tion­

Six mil­lion pairs of shoes were im­ported in the third quar­ter of 2018, trans­lat­ing to a 17 per cent rise.

Traders, the 2018 Quar­terly Bal­ance of Pay­ments re­port by Kenya Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics shows, sourced their shoes ahead of De­cem­ber fes­tiv­i­ties and back-to-school pe­riod by pay­ing Sh1.4 bil­lion to for­eign shoe­mak­ers.

The rise in im­ports negates on­go­ing cam­paigns by leather stake­hold­ers to boost cob­blers, small and medium en­ter­prises as well as ma­jor shoe fac­to­ries to raise pro­duc­tion to 40 mil­lion pairs re­quired an­nu­ally.

Leather Apex So­ci­ety of Kenya sec­re­tary gen­eral Beatrice Mwasi called on leather prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers to unite and push for a re­view of laws to sup­port lo­cal in­dus­tries as well as en­sure all shoe­mak­ers prop­erly mark prod­ucts based on ma­te­ri­als used.

“Im­porters go for resin shoes that are la­belled as soft leather dup­ing cus­tomers into buy­ing fake leather shoes.

“We must stop this to en­sure only qual­ity prod­ucts are sold to cus­tomers as well as nur­ture the lo­cal leather in­dus­try, which has been cry­ing foul over the sale of good look­ing im­ported shoes that are sold cheaply com­pared to their gen­uine leather shoes that fetch tidy sums in the mar-

ket,” she said.

Quar­ter two data shows im­ports stood at 5.2 mil­lion pairs of shoes val­ued at Sh1.1 bil­lion, which was a 7.4 per cent fall from the first quar­ter in which Kenyans paid Sh1.3 bil­lion for 5.8 mil­lion pairs.

In Novem­ber, stake­hold­ers called for en­act­ment of leather qual­ity stan­dards law, say­ing Kenyans get a raw deal by buy­ing im­ported resin shoes passed off as ‘qual­ity leather shoes’.

A leather strat­egy launched eight years ago is still un­der­way with a coun­cil formed to drive the de­vel­op­ment of lo­cal in­dus­tries as well as the es­tab­lish­ment of a spe­cial eco­nomic zone for ex­port-bound leather prod­ucts.

Raw leather ex­ports dropped by 43.7 per cent in the last three quar­ters, the low­est re­ported in the past three years at 4,219 tonnes that earned tan­ner­ies Sh779.3 mil­lion

Kar­iokor Cob­blers As­so­ci­a­tion spokesman Peter Kitheka said in­creased ex­ports of semi-pro­cessed leather leaves them with poor qual­ity ma­te­ri­als for mak­ing their prod­ucts.

Raw leather ex­ports dropped by 43.7 per­cent in the last three quar­ters

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