The Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) has imposed a ban on the importation and selling of secondhand nightwear and undergarments for health reasons, the importation of substandard products and using country as dumping ground as the reasons.
The garments that face the ban include; used night dresses, hospital gowns, ladies and gents’ underwear, brassieres, and vests. The ban comes into effect February 1.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the RBS Deputy Director in charge of technical operations Eng. Patrice Ntiyamira said that the ban came following complaints from the public.
“Many people came to us complaining about skin diseases they contracted as a result of these garments,” Ntiyamira said yesterday, adding that most countries in the region had already imposed the ban.
“Most of these products come when they are old and cannot serve their purpose.”
According to RBS, the second hand undergarments come from Europe, America, and a small number from some North African countries.
The control of the importation of these products will be done at the six main border points of the country and at the Kigali International Airport by RBS in collaboration with police to ensure that they don’t enter the country.
Asked whether the ban would not affect low income earners who have been using the products as the alternative of new ones, Ntiyamira said that their survey showed that though second hand, the products are actually more costly than new ones.
He said that the ban will also lead to an increase of revenue collected from imported new products since they come in cartons and their numbers clearly indicated unlike the used ones which come in bales and their number cannot be determined.
Ntiyamira said that the ban could encourage local textile factories to begin producing these products, hence creating jobs for many people.