Speaking yesterday during an exercise to remove used undergarments from the Karume market, a trader, Ibrahim Abdallah said importers are to blame for the persistent trade in the garments.
The exercise was conducted by police officers in collaboration with officials from the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) where a total of six bales of used underpants were removed from the market.
“We buy the banned undergarments from some traders who continue to import them. The government should intensify security at entry points as well as impose heavy penalties on the culprits,” Abdallah said.
He said some buyers prefer used underpants because of the quality and price. He said used underpants are sold at the cheapest price compared to new ones.
Abdallah challenged the government in collaboration with the private sector to increase investment in industries to ensure that underpants are manufactured locally.
An inspector from TBS, Simon Emmanuel said that the government will continue to take tough measures against importers and sellers of the banned clothing.
Used underpants were posing health risks to users as they might cause different skin diseases, he declared.
The secondhand underwear business was contrary to TZS 758:2003 requirement standards, the official emphasized.
“We would like to remind importers and sellers of the banned clothes that such undergarments are not allowed at our markets countrywide,” said Emmanuel, maintaining that all those measures are being taken to protect Tanzanians from diseases.
He said the ongoing countrywide operation is sustainable, and that culprits will be charged in accordance with Section 27 of the Standards Act No 2 of 2009. He said the seized bales of used underpants will be destroyed.
A few years ago, the standards body issued a notice to all dealers, importers and sellers of second-hand innerwear such as socks, brassieres, vests, night dresses and camisoles to remove them from the local market.
Most of the secondhand clothes are illegally imported in the country through porous borders because TBS had already managed to control its importation through ports and airports, the standards body maintains.