FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday told the National Assembly that the government would not budge on its ban on importation of secondhand clothes, as the move was meant to protect the local industry.

Chinamasa said this while presenting Finance No 2 (2015) Bill to do with the Mid-term Fiscal Policy Review statement. He said it would be hypocritical for him to say that he wanted to protect local industries, and still allow the sale of secondhand clothes.

“A number of MPs raised the issue, saying it will affect a number of people, who are unemployed and make a living through the sale of second hand clothes. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga also suggested that the ban should only relate to the sale of underwear.

“The proposed measure is to support the textile and clothing industries. I need to say that in my last visit to Bulawayo I toured textile companies that are now resuscitating their operations. One or two of the companies said they are buying machinery from collapsed textile industries in South Africa,” Chinamasa said.

He said the textile industries in South Africa had collapsed because of sale of secondhand clothing, adding he will not allow Zimbabwean companies to follow suit.

“We do not want to go that route and we need to protect our people from diseases. Admittedly, the ban has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. But, we cannot talk honestly about reviving of companies in Bulawayo and other cities while at the same time allowing importation of second hand clothes,” he said. Chinamasa said clothing manufacturers should ensure clothes are affordable.

The ban of secondhand clothes created an uproar from vendors. newsday

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