Players in the leather industry want accessories zero-rated to lower the cost of production that has seen locally made products expensive and uncompetitive in the global market.
They also want the government to bar importation of cheap leather imitations to benefit local manufacturers.
The leather sub-sector contributes 1.5% of overall GDP and employs 22,000 people.
However, against a domestic demand of 42 million footwear annually of which leather accounts for 15 million, only 3.3 million pairs are made locally, while 11.7 million are imported meaning that Kenya can barely meet 20% of her demand.
To address this, those in the leather sub-sector are calling for zero-rating of inputs and accessories that have contirbuted to the high cost of locally produced leather products.
Currently, 95% of Kenya’s leather exports are in form of semi-processed -89% of which is exported in wet-blue and the rest unprocessed/raw hides and skins which fetch minimal returns.
Leather Apex Society of Kenya CEO Beatrice Mwasi says there is the need for a review of policies governing the leather industry to bar infiltration of substandard imports.
Kenya is targeting to boost production to 20 million leather shoes and increase export revenue in the industry to 50 billion shillings by the year 2022.