By Martin Masinde
A senior Government official has reiterated for the umpteenth time the Government’s commitment to deliver it’s mandate of clean and habitable work environment for all markets in the Country.
This is in line with the national government’s plans of linking the already constructed markets across the country with technical institutions saying this will help in the value addition of the products.
Tuesday Morning Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga led a high powered delegation in inspecting three major markets which recently underwent a facelift. The markets include: City Park Market, The City Market and Gikomba Market.
Speaking while inspecting the aforementioned markets in Nairobi, Principal Secretary Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga said the current administration has invested a lot of money in equipping the technical and vocational training centres that are required for value addition.
“ We are committed towards ensuring that Kenyans in the various markets have made profits from their trade. Our plan is to ensure that when people visit these markets they not only leave there with tomatoes but even tomato paste that has been made by the same seller,” said Hinga.
Already Hinga said the program has started in Chaka Market, Nyeri County; they have even constructed cold rooms to help in preservation of the excess agricultural products. This is key to prevent post harvest losses that have diluted the efforts of the farmer.
The PS said that the government was committed to constructing and face-lifting markets to ensure that traders have been provided with a dignified place where they can do their business. This will in turn spur economic growth from the very bottom.
“ The role of the government is to provide its citizens with a conducive environment where they can thrive. The Jubilee administration is a classic example of a government that cares about its citizens. For the last few years we have done over 59 markets and rehabilitated over 33 in Nairobi,” said Hinga who was also accompanied by the Technical assistant to President Uhuru Kenyatta Prof Mutahi Ngunyi.
Most of the markets in Nairobi were in a deplorable condition for lack of sanitary facilities, drainage and basic amenities like running water.
“For the first time in its entire history, City Park Market is no longer an open-air market. In 2021, all the 690 traders operating at the market will be housed in an ultra-modern market with modern grocery stalls, digital money booths, cyber cafes, restaurants, fruit stalls and beauty salons and barbershops,” said Hinga.
The rehabilitation of the city park market, which has been burnt down in 2014 is part of the rehabilitation of the green spaces initiative by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The market is situated within the precincts of the oldest park in Kenya-City Park. Freedom fighter Pio Gama Pinto and Kenya’s second Vice President, Joseph Murumbi are some of Kenya’s heroes buried at the park.
Special advisor to President Uhuru Kenyatta on matters concerning Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Ann Mutahi hailed the move to have more markets saying that it has played a big role in giving opportunities to people in the grassroots.
“With these markets most of our SMEs are getting opportunities of how they can even apply for grants. They have good places where they can sell their produce and this is something we should President Kenyatta for,” she said.
Another key success story is that of Gikomba where also the PS set foot.
“Gikomba as you have seen, has a new face altogether. This has addressed the issue of congestion and the only way was to go vertical which is why we put up the six storey market that is now comfortably housing more than 2,000 traders. They are now able to be more productive in a very conducive environment. The new market has also dealt once and for all with the issue of perennial arson. “the market is fitted with CCTV and so security is uncompromised.”
Gikomba Market Chairman Samson Wanjohi who took the Principal Secretary round the market hailed the government’s commitment to highlight the plight of traders who were initially faced with several challenges.