Traders from across Kenya have come together to call on the government to revise the 80% duty that is currently imposed on exports of raw hides and skins. They say that such a tariff on trade with other East African markets is damaging their businesses.

They made their case at the annual general meeting of the East Africa Hides and Skins Association. Following the meeting, chairperson Karuri Ngige said a more lenient tax system would open the sector to more tanneries and allow for existing ones to expand their markets.

She explained that the traders want tax to be calculated on the export value of local hides and skins, rather than on their total weight.

The Kenyan government implemented the high tax rate on raw hides and skins in an effort to encourage domestic value addition, although Ms Ngige argued that it has had little effect on the country’s leather value chain.