LOSING OUT

Murang'a traders ask for hawkers zones

Say they pay high levies yet county government has done nothing to protect their businesses

In Summary
  • Traders say hawkers sell wares outside their premises and take all their clients
  • Accuse county government of failing to formulate laws to regulate hawkers
An aerial view of Murang'a town
TOO MANY HAWKERS: An aerial view of Murang'a town
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

Traders in Murang’a town want the county government to establish hawkers zones.

The heavy presence of hawkers in the streets causes them huge losses, they said.

They pay high levies yet the county government has done nothing to protect their businesses from the hawkers.

They accused the hawkers of setting up their makeshift businesses outside their premises and displaying wares similar to theirs, giving them unfair competition.

Governor Mwangi wa Iria has drafted a bill that seeks to regulate the informal sector and bring to an end battles between small traders and devolved units.

The bill before the Senate proposes formation of trading zones for hawkers and street vendors.

“The hawkers pay significantly small levies compared to what we pay yet they end up taking majority of our customers,” John Kamau, a trader, said.

They wondered why the county government had reduced Murang’a town, the county headquarters, into a hawkers’ den.

Kamau said the county government’s failure to formulate policies to control hawking in the county risks running their businesses down.

He said hawkers continue to stream into Murang’a town, occupying every open space available on the streets.

“We want the county government to establish areas where hawkers can all sell their wares without causing us losses,” Kamau said, adding that the county will lose a lot of revenue should they close down.

 

He said hotel operators pay licenses of up to Sh20,000 annually to the county administration yet it allows hawkers who pay as little as Sh50 daily to sell food outside their premises.

Murang’a and nearby Mukuyu towns have seen an upsurge of hawkers who sell food ranging from cooked chicken to chapatti.

The two towns become a beehive of activity at dusk as hawkers cook their food in the open using portable jikos and sell on the roadside.

Nancy Njeri, a trader, said the county government is responsible for the confusion caused by hawkers in the town and urged it to remedy the situation.

“If the county government does not control the situation, our businesses will continue doing badly and in turn affect the amount of revenue collected,” Njeri said.