Senator formulates bill to regulate street vending

The bill require the vendors to obtain license from the ministry of trade

In Summary

• The Ministry of Trade will be required to form a street vending unit headed by a director to maintain a registry of the traders nationally.

• The bill is sponsored by Kirinyaga Sentaor Chris Kibiru

Hawkers being driven out of Ngara area in Nairobi.
Hawkers being driven out of Ngara area in Nairobi.

No street vendor will sub-let, transfer or re-assign vending space or stall allocated to them should a new bill become law.

The bill further proposes that street traders register for a permit from the Trade ministry through their county finance executives before being allowed to operate. 

The bill sponsored by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru wants the executives to maintain a register of the vendors and forward the same to National Treasury Cabinet secretary for issuance of a permit.


Kabiru argues that the bill will help fill the existing legal vacuum for the regulation of street vendors yet the traders greatly contribute to the economy.

The bill wants counties to demarcate specific streets and areas for the traders.

The vending zones are divided into three zones: Restriction-free vending zones, restricted vending zones where traders will require a special permit to operate, and no-vending zones.

Any trader who does business outside the designated vending zones will have committed an offence.

The Trade CS will be required to form a Street Vending Unit under the ministry headed by a director to be in charge of registering vendors and managing their affairs. 

The proposed law also requires counties to conduct a survey on all the existing and potential street vendors within their counties within the first twelve months of operationalizing the Act.

Subsequent surveys shall be carried out at least once every three years.


The outcome of the said surveys shall be tabled in the county assemblies for approval within three months of their release to inform the formulation of county vending plan.

The devolved units will then be required to publish the details of the vending plans and the designated zones in the county gazette and at least one newspaper of wide circulation within the county.

The devolved units have been given the power by the proposed law to evict licensed vendors should they violate any bylaw after being given a 30-day notice.

Critics of the bill argue it adds to already overburdened traders in the country who have to walk from one office to the other to obtain permits, something viewed as stifling the business environment.