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September 23, 2017

Government in last-minute rush to save crumbling retail sector

The Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Aden Mohamed will today issue a status report on Kenya’s retail sector, even as the government find answers to problems currently facing supermarkets.

Trade permanent secretary Chris Kiptoo said the meeting is part of the government’s efforts to revive the sector whose spending contributed 30 per cent to the country’s GDP last year.

‘’The meeting will evaluate current problems facing key players like Nakumatt and Uchumi supermarkets with the aim of reviving them,’’ Kiptoo told The Star.

Today’s meeting is coming less than a week after the PS announced that the state is working with other shareholders to reopen Uchumi supermarket branches in Tanzania and Uganda.

Speaking at a bilateral meeting with his Tanzanian counterpart, Kiptoo ordered debts owed to suppliers by Uchumi supermarket audited even as the state prepares to release Sh600 million set aside to clear the debt.

Nakumatt and Uchumi supermarkets have in recent times been forced to close a number of local and regional branches as the financial challenges mount. Besides closing branches, Nakumatt is fighting several court battles as suppliers and lenders threaten to liquidate it.

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