Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC) Chief Executive Officer Charles Ndungu told Xinhua in Nairobi that imports of second hand leather products is affecting local production.

“As part of efforts to revive the leather industry, we are considering reviewing the import tariffs in order to protect industry from unfair competition,” Ndungu said on the sidelines of the Africa growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum.

Ndungu said leather manufacturers will be encouraged to be set up in the export promotion zones so that they enjoy tax breaks.

He added that some second hand leather shoes are being sold for as low as 30 U.S. cents per pair and this has affected producers of low end leather products.

“We need to investigate whether this is a case of dumping or genuine trade,” he said.

Kenya began the importation of second hand shoes in 1980s by charitable organizations but has since become a major enterprise that meets the demand for approximately half of the shoe market.

KLDC official said that Kenya produced eight million pairs of shoes last year mostly from small and medium sized enterprises.

“We would want to double output in two years by mechanizing production of footwear because there is ready market for the shoes,” he said.

The CEO said the majority of leather produced in Kenya is exported in semi processed form.
“Last year, we exported leather worth 100 million dollars mostly to China and India,” he said.

In order to develop the local leather industry, the country has imposed 80 percent export duty on raw leather. The leather regulator said that the leather industry is yet to be fully exploited despite its potential for job creation.

Ndungu said value addition could push the value of the leather industry to one billion dollars up from the current 200 million dollars. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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