Home Business Umoja Shoes welcomes gov’t plan to ban importation of leather products

Umoja Shoes welcomes gov’t plan to ban importation of leather products

A local footwear company has welcomed the government’s plan to ban the importation of leather products in the next two years in a bid to revitalize the leather chain and protect local industries.

President Dr. William Ruto in June while in Kajiado announced that the government has allocated Ksh2B for the treatment of cowhide to improve quality.

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The move comes in the wake of cheap imports from foreign countries that have proliferated local markets.

“They supply a lot of shoddy stuff here and the poor customer has to buy because the overall cost is cheaper than what you can manufacture locally. When you see the product itself in the shop it is cheaper than even our production cost of the whole thing, so how does that work it is just baffling but then we are at the mercy of the customers,” said Dilip Shah Founder and Chairman of Umoja Shoes Kenya Limited.

The company which is celebrating its 45 years anniversary has pledged to continue manufacturing the best quality shoes within the price range.

“Our industry has grown to this magnitude by introducing leather shoes, safety shoes, and army shoes which are well recognized within our government. Our quality is very good, and our standards are very nice,” said Shah.

Umoja Shoes Managing Director Ehsan Zaman revealed that they mitigate the high cost of doing so by manufacturing large volumes.

The MD urged local institutions to support local industries to grow by buying locally manufactured goods and to make timely payments after supply not to halt production.

“If that support is given we have the technology, we have the capability to produce large volumes of shoes for various government institutions,” he said.

He went on: “All our shoes are produced in-house, we do export a significant volume to our neighboring countries to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and even Congo.”

The MD challenged farmers to practice organized farming to supply shoe manufacturers with high-quality leather at competitive prices. The company procures most of its textiles locally.

The company has added a new lease of life by rebranding the name and has been changed from Umoja Rubber Products to Umoja Shoe Company Limited. The move according to the MD is aimed to increase and inspire their customer base.

The family company was started in 1978 by four brothers with 26 employees in Tangana Road, Mombasa before relocating to Kikambala, Kilifi County in 1993. The employees mostly from the local communities have since increased to 2200 producing 350,000 pairs of shoes daily.

In 2019, they ventured into retail business, currently, they have 27 retail outlets spread across the country employing over 150 people directly.

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