Tuesday, January 7, 2014

City traders protest increased levy

PHOTO | SAMMY KIMATU Traders from Nairobi’s Wakulima Market protest outside deputy president William Ruto’s office on Harambee Avenue on January 7, 2014. They accused Nairobi governor Evans Kidero of increasing market levies.

PHOTO | SAMMY KIMATU Traders from Nairobi’s Wakulima Market protest outside deputy president William Ruto’s office on Harambee Avenue on January 7, 2014. They accused Nairobi governor Evans Kidero of increasing market levies.   NATION

By LILIAN OCHIENG
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Operations at Nairobi’s two biggest fresh produce markets were paralysed on Tuesday as traders took to the streets protesting increase of service fees by the county government.

Wakulima and Muthurwa markets remained closed for the better part of yesterday as traders staged protest outside the Deputy President William Ruto’s office.

The protest disrupted distribution of fresh produce across the city.

CALL FOR NEGOTIATIONS

Wakulima Traders’ Association chairperson Mr Cyrus Kaguta said they went to Mr Ruto’s office after their calls for negotiations with the county government were not responded to.

“The charges are too high and traders are experiencing huge losses daily,” Mr Kaguta said.

The traders said the new rates, introduced by the Nairobi county government, through the Finance Act 2013, have raised the daily service fees by between 5 and 10 per cent since they took effect on January 1 this year.  

The traders, including those from other fresh produce markets within Nairobi, said they were not consulted in the drafting of the law and that the new fees will adversely affect their businesses.

“We feel that the charges are extremely high a and we therefore request for an urgent meeting between us, the traders, and county government representatives for a dialogue on these new charges,” reads a letter sent to Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero on December 23 last year.

The letter is signed by representatives from the Wakulima wholesale market, Muthurwa Quarry Road market, Kawangware market, Muthurwa Hawkers market as well as Kibera and Kangemi markets.

City County director of markets Mr Johnson Akong’o said said on Tuesday the county government had agreed to put the new fees on hold for three days while negotiations proceed.

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