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On 19 September, the government introduced a 25 meticais surcharge on every kilogram of used clothing brought into Mozambique, and retailers predict difficult days ahead.
“We do not find this a good measure because it will increase the cost per bale and lead to customers reducing the amount they buy,” Mohamed Rafik, importer and owner of a clothing warehouse in Maputo’s Xipamanine market, says.
And this really is a concern for those who make a living by selling used clothes. In Xipamanine, we found Lousada Mondlane and Isabela Sambo, two resellers who fear that the introduction of the surcharge will raise the cost of clothing yet again. They tell us that, over the last five years, the average price of a bale has increased from six to 16,000 meticais.
“A bale of children’s clothing costs between 15 and 16 thousand meticais. Nowadays, just recouping the purchase price is a serious problem,” Lousada says, adding that winter clothes went up from 3,500 to 7,000 meticais.
“We will have to increase the selling price of clothes to recover our investment,” Isabela Sambo says. But for those who turn to markets like these for their clothes, she says, low prices are the biggest attraction.