Lamu traders threaten tax boycott over bad market

World Bank has given funds for facelift but work is yet to start

In Summary

• Roof of dilapidated market is leaking, destroying wares worth millions.

• County government has announced market will undergo a Sh50 million facelift and expansion.

Traders at Lamu municipal market have threatened not to pay taxes until the county government completes expansion of the market.

The roof of the dilapidated and congested market is leaking, destroying wares worth millions of shillings over the months.

Traders want the market completed as soon as possible to save them from the stresses they are undergoing during the rainy season.

Speaking in Lamu town on Tuesday, the traders said they have a hard time working and keeping their products safe and durable due to the bad state of the market.

They have sworn not to pay a shilling in taxes until the market is improved to the desired standards.

“Many of our products rot or go stale before time because of rain. There have been promises of expanding the market but we feel they are being deliberately slow yet the losses we are incurring each day are immense. We have decided not to pay tax to the county government until we see change,” grocer Susan Njeri said.

Last month, the county government of Lamu announced that the municipal market would undergo a Sh50 million facelift and expansion to accommodate more traders. The government has secured full funding for the project from the World Bank.

Lamu was among 53 municipalities that submitted applications for the Sustainable Urban Economic Development Project by the World Bank.

Only 10 municipalities including Lamu were selected for the program which aims at supporting fast-growing municipalities to develop sustainable urban plans and attract investment.

Lamu municipality manager Omar Famau has said the funds are already in and works are set to kick off anytime.


The traders are however uncomfortable with the continued silence since the announcement was made.

“The works were to have commenced before this rainy season but as it is the rains are already here yet there is nothing happening. We are so stuffed in here at the moment and it's extremely uncomfortable,” said Aboud Halat,a butcher.

The situation has resulted in poor hygiene as traders struggle with huge amounts of garbage .

The municipal market holds over 200 traders.