Traders in Murang’a County have accused Governor Mwangi Wa Iria’s administration of failing to regulate the mushrooming of the hawkers and vendors in Murang’a and Mukuyu towns, saying that they are a threat to their businesses.
The traders said that despite paying huge levies to the county government, the hawkers, who pay peanuts to the county government, have given them unfair and unhealthy competition by establishing similar businesses outside their business premises.
The traders said Murang’a town, which should be the face of the county, has been reduced to a hawking paradise, urging the county administration to formulate polices to regulate and control the hawkers in major towns.
They said if the county government does not act quickly, their businesses will collapse.
Joseph Kamau, a trader in Murang’a town, said hawkers pose a great danger to their businesses and to the economy of the whole county.
“We are paying for our licenses and other levies amounting to Sh20,000 to the county government on yearly basis for the restaurant services without mentioning other expenses like paying our staff but the hawkers who pay Sh10 daily camp outside our hotels with movable jikos to hawk fried chicken creating an unfavourable environment for our businesses,” Mr Kamau said.
The traders, who spoke in Murang’a town Wednesday during a Murang’a business leaders' forum, said that some of them have suffered losses.
They cautioned that failure by the devolved unit to come up with ways to create a conducive environment, their businesses may be closed and the county will also suffer as it will lose revenue.
“The county government must move with speed to correct the mess and impeding closure of the businesses since they will also be affected in their bid to raise their yearly targets of revenue collection,” Ms Nancy Njeri said.
They proposed that the Trade department establishes zones where the hawkers should be trading from in order to clean the town and to ensure fair play in business.
Their concerns come in the wake of the governor’s Hawker’s Bill which is in the stage of public participation which started on July 30.
The Bill, which was presented to the Senate by Governor Wa Iria last year, envisions an end to the running battles between hawkers and enforcement agencies, where each county government will come up with a street vending zone plan and submit it to the county assembly for approval.
According to the proposed law, the County Executive Member for Trade will set up a street vendors unit or department that will be charged with prescribing business fees and other registration charges.
The department will also maintain a national register of street vendors and advise the Cabinet secretary on matters relating to street vending.
The department will also prescribe the minimum standards for carrying out street vending in consultation with county governments and relevant stakeholders.