•Businesspeople vow to elect only those who will solve the problem of capital inaccessibility
•Aspirants pledge to pool funds for formation of saccos
Getting reasonably priced loans to open and maintain businesses remains one of the biggest problems for Embu traders.
Several of them who spoke on Monday said local businesses collapsed within five years due to inaccessibility to funds.
They said they will only vote in officials who assured them of a solution in today's Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry elections.
The traders were disappointed that bank and sacco loans are inaccessible to most youths and small-scale traders as the lenders require collaterals "which are not available owing to economic hard times".
Uwezo, Women Enterprises and Youth funds from the national and county governments are too little to sustain businesses, they said.
"A business requires about Sh100,000 but the lenders provide only Sh20,000," they said.
Their concerns were voiced during a lively debate organised for the KNCCI election candidates for Embu moderated by Violet Grace, Dennis Kaweru, Eunice Wangui and Pius Kimathi. Today's elections venue is Talent Academy in Embu Town.
Contractor John Mugo and his running mate Gerald Ireri will battle for director against hotelier Johnson Nyaga and running mate Kanjogi Njiru.
The traders demanded that they explain how they will solve their many problems.
“Let’s face the reality and say it point-blank that traders need capital. You need to tell us what you are going to do differently from others who were there before to solve this big problem,” James Muriuki said.
Both Mugo and Nyaga promised to mobilise the traders and donors to pool resources and establish a sacco from which they can borrow loans instead of relying on financial institutions.
KNCCI members accused former officials of not been forceful to lobby for the welfare of the traders. They asked the incoming officials to make the lobby active.
Only 100 of about 800 old registered members had been active compared to 350 new ones.
There was a need for the registration of more members.
Lack of training in entrepreneurship was also cited as a major challenge facing traders, especially the young ones as the old traders retire.
The aspirants said they will look for ways of facilitating the training on maintenance and growth of businesses.
(Edited by R. Wamochie)