Gikomba traders cry foul over loss of businesses following frequent fires in the market. Meanwhile, Ngatia, the Azimio La Umoja contender, commits on revival plans.
The hunt for votes in the Nairobi gubernatorial contest has intensified with aspirants resorting to popularise their bid ahead of the August 9 polls duel.
Yesterday, Azimio La Umoja lead contender under Jubilee Party Richard Ngatia pitched tent at the populous Gikomba open air trade market engaging traders and selling his agenda for the city county if elected as the next county boss.
Among the key issues he highlighted include enhanced sanitation in all the markets, provision of adequate clean water, security and accessibility through improved road networks.
“Here in Gikomba and all other markets across Nairobi County I have prioritised on matters of drainage and sanitation, provision of adequate, well-maintained lavatories for free, firefighting services designated inside the respective markets for short response in case of an outbreak of fire and accessible road network linked to the main roads.
We will also provide proper lighting, daycare services for mothers and hotels to have a self-reliant business ecosystem,” Ngatia said.
He added that all footbridges which have turned into mugging dens will be well lit, secured and surveillance cameras installed coupled by human security deployment to enable people walk to and outside the central business district without fear.
However, traders cried foul over loss of businesses occasioned by the pandemic and petitioned Ngatia to address multiple trade licenses charged by the Nairobi County government.
“As small traders, we have priority on issues we want addressed among them – the multiple licenses charged by the county should be collapsed into one, access to credit and financing for our businesses and conducive environment to operate within.
We are constantly harassed while doing our businesses and sanitation in the market is not adequate.” Jane Waithira, one of the traders observed.
While articulating his agenda on how to decongest the city, Ngatia said he has secured partners from abroad who once he is elected into office will donate four solar-powered trams to help people commute within a 10-kilometres radius around the city for free.
“The only cost the government will incur is labour force of the four operators,” he added.
Ngatia also cited post Covid-19 business revival plans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), access to credit for small traders, trade levies and construction of industries to ensure value addition of products for both domestic and foreign market.
“Nairobi is a business hub for the region and one of the most preferred investment destinations globally.
That is why we intend to spruce up the Nairobi economy together through establishment of industries for value addition of our products to ensure everyone has money in the pocket.
Nairobians should be the first beneficiaries of these programmes. This is one of my key agendas going forward,” said Ngatia.
“When you traders say you don’t have money in the pocket, it means our industries are not doing well, when we say women and youths are unemployed, it means we have not addressed our productive sectors to create jobs for our most productive population, so we must ensure the county government of Nairobi has a comprehensive policy framework to address all these issues and I am convinced that with your support, together, we will turnaround the economy of this city,” Ngatia said while addressing mammoth of crowds.
They also raised concern over incessant fires at the market which they attributed to business rivalry and alleged land grabbing attempts.
The president of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) also noted that the chamber had made interventions and initiated already running initiatives to stabilise small business under the programmes such as Sh600 million kitty under the Mastercard Foundation Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience programme.
“One of my key agenda for the city is to help Micro and Small Enterprises survive the economic downturn and improve their resilience to enable them continue to create employment and contribute to the country’s economic resurgence.
We must work towards addressing the most pressing issues facing our economy today, which are loss of employment and collapse of small businesses as a result of Covid-19 outbreak.
Young people and especially young men and women need this support for us to quickly mitigate the economic impact of the crisis,” said Ngatia.
Other Nairobi gubernatorial aspirants battling out for the seat include; Agnes Kagure (Jubilee), Timothy Wanyonyi (ODM), Johnson Sakaja (ANC) and Margaret Wanjiru (UDA).