Nairobi News


Moses Kuria now backs Raila’s pre-election stand on imports

By Wangu Kanuri February 28th, 2023 2 min read

Trade, Investment and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria appears to have seen the sense in Raila Odinga’s argument on imports and their impact on the Kenyan economy.

During the campaigns for last year’s General Election, Mr Odinga indicated that he would ban mitumba business if elected president, and instead revive the cotton industry.

Mr Kuria at the time rubbished the idea saying many traders in Kenya relied on mitumba imports to make ends meet. He even visited the Gikomba market and bought second-hand clothes.

Also read: Government to raise taxes on cheaper imports amid China square row

Months later, in his role as Trade Minister, Kuria says Chinese imports are flooding the market and affecting local traders. He has even argued that it doesn’t require skills to sell bras and panties in the debate surrounding China Square.

“There is no special skill required to sell bras and boxers in the streets of Nairobi. Kenyans can do it,” he tweeted.

He makes his sentiments after waging war against the China Square mall, a one-stop mall where Kenyans have been buying almost every commodity at the place.

The former Gatundu South MP said Chinese nationals were allowed in the country as manufacturers and not traders, while also accusing former Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i for the influx of the Chinese in the country.

Additionally, Kuria that Kenya is open for business and not dumping products.

On the other hand, China Square owner Lei Cheng said he followed and abided by Kenyan laws when he set up shop in the country.

Also read: Moses Kuria now blames Matiang’i for influx of Chinese nationals in Kenya

He also revealed that during the first two weeks after setting up his business he sold goods worth Sh20 million, and that presently he sells goods worth at the minimum Sh10 million everyday.

According to Mr Cheng, China Square has employed 130 people at the Kenyatta University-owned Unicity Mall on the Thika Superhighway.

Set up in January, China Square has been a hit with Nairobinans for its low-priced items, the same reason that has seen local traders threatening to go to the streets to protest. In the wake of the uproar from competitors, China Square remained closed on Monday.

Also read: Moses Kuria calls for ‘take over’ of China Square from Chinese traders