NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya plans to remove import duty on raw leather
in order to boost the sector, officials said on Monday.
Leather Sector Advisor of Ministry of Industry, told Xinhua in
Nairobi that the move will encourage the sourcing of high
quality hides and skins for the global market.
“We will soon
introduce tax incentives in order to assist the local leather
sector to expand,” Awale said, adding that currently there is an
import duty of 25 percent hides and skins.
He said that despite
Kenya having a large population of cattle which is a source of
leather, the country is heavily dependent on imports.
“Poor handling of
the hides and skins has resulted in poor quality finished
products which can’t compete in the international market,” he
Data from the
Ministry of Trade indicates that the East African nation
produces only 8 million pairs of shoes annually against a demand
of 40 million pairs.
Awale said that most
of imports consist of secondhand shoes from developed countries.
The leather sector
advisor said most of Kenya’s hides and skins are exported and
this has hampered local value addition.
He added that Kenya
will enforce strict standards on imports of secondhand shoes in
order to protect local shoe industry.
The ministry has
already developed a national strategy to revive the sector that
was vibrant in the early 1990s.
Awale said that
liberalization of the leather industry lead to an influx of
cheap imports from low cost producing nations.