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PIC: Faith Lumonya, programme officer of SEATINI, displays secondhand undergarments after a press conference in Kampala.

Civil society organizations have backed the East African Community (EAC) heads of states to ban the importation of secondhand clothes in order to build the capacity of cotton and textile industries within the region.

"It is important that the decision by the heads of states to phase out secondhand clothes be supported in order to enable the EAC in general and Uganda in particular grow and enhance her local production capacity," said Faith Lumonya. She is the programme officer of Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI).

With specific reference to Uganda, the group argued that Uganda National Textile policy value chain analysis indicates that with added capacity at spinning, weaving and finishing stages, more revenue can be generated and more jobs could be created internally beyond the 2.5 million across the value chain.

“As such, the EAC can implement measures to phase out secondhand clothes so as to boost her domestic industries,” the civil society groups told the media in Kampala. On February 20, 2015, the EAC heads of states directed the council of ministers to study modalities for the promotion of textile and leather industries in the region and stopping the importation of used clothes, shoes and other leather products from outside the region.