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City Market traders resume work but dispute remains unresolved

In Summary

•Traders with stalls in the county-owned market had closed their shops on Monday protesting the return of the temporary stand owners.

Traders and customers at City Market on Tuesday.
Traders and customers at City Market on Tuesday.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

City Market traders were yesterday back to business despite a clash between stall owners and those with temporary stands disrupting operations on Monday. 

Traders with stalls in the county-owned market had closed their shops on Monday protesting the return of the temporary stand owners who they refer to as 'hawkers'.

But yesterday when the Star visited the market before noon, the traders with stalls were open for business.

The other traders were also setting up stands to start conducting business in the market.

Shop owners led by Cyrus Kamundia said it was unfair for the stall owners to operate alongside the 'hawkers' who don't pay licence fees to City Hall.

"They only pay Sh50 to the county while the rest of us pay close to Sh100,000 annually to cover for licenses, health inspections, electricity bills and other charges," he said.

In a month, stall traders usually spend Sh12,500 for rent and close to Sh40,000 for electricity.

These fees are in addition to annual fees paid for fire safety (Sh4,500), Halal permits (Sh40,000), health and food permit at Sh5,000 and licence fees at Sh2,650.

‘‘We must have a chat with the county and everyone involved. We pay huge taxes to the county government and we have invested a lot in these shops,' Kamundia said.

On the other hand traders without stalls led by Titus Odhiambo said that  Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko allowed them to return to the market on Friday last week.

 He said they also pay fees even if it is not equal to those paid by stall owners.

According to Odhiambo, they pay between Sh300 to Sh500 for every basket of fish, depending on the size of fish and Sh1,000 for a sack of chicken.

" We have a right to be here. Some of us have been here close to 30 years. On top of that we pay Sh50 for each stand," he said.

Both sides want City Hall's intervention on the way forward for conducting business in the market.

City market was built in 1904 at a cost of 100,000 rupees to accommodate Europeans only. 

It is located on the junction of the Muindi Mbingu Street and Market Road.

The market receives at least 20,000 visitors per month most of whom are wholesale customers purchasing for small restaurants or planned households.

In March this year, it was reported that City Hall was losing over Sh400 million in revenue from over 100 markets in the city.

The report noted that the county is only able to collect revenue from 43 main markets, raising concerns of weak reinforcement from the revenue team.

(edited by O. Owino)

A trader with a temporary stand at City Market on Tuesday
A trader with a temporary stand at City Market on Tuesday
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI
Traders at City Market onTuesday
Traders at City Market onTuesday
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI