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Ngatia's promise to Gikomba traders as battle for city governor hots up

Richard Ngatia addressing the press during a meeting with business community leaders in Nairobi. September 9, 2021. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The battle for Nairobi's top seat continues with candidates hitting the campaign trail ahead of the August 9 General Election.

Yesterday, Azimio la Umoja hopeful for Nairobi governor Richard Ngatia took his vote hunt to Gikomba market and pledged to address the traders plight if he is elected. 

The traders complained of loss of businesses occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic and urged Ngatia to ease need for businesses to posses multiple trade licences as required by the Nairobi County Government.

“As small traders, we want the multiple licences and fees charged by the county government collapsed into one," said Jane Waithera, a trader.

She added: “We are also faced with challenges such as access to credit and financing and lack of a conducive environment to operate. We are also constantly harassed while doing our business. Sanitation is also poor inside the market."

The traders also cited lack of adequate clean water, insecurity and inaccessibility due to poor roads. 

Ngatia promised to prioritise drainage and sanitation, provision of well-maintained lavatories for free and firefighting services stationed inside the various markets for quick response to fire outbreaks. 

“We will also provide proper lighting, daycare services for mothers and hotels for a self-reliant business ecosystem,” said Ngatia.

Porters ferrying bales at Gikomba along Kinyanjui street, November 30, 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

He said the footbridges which have turned into mugging dens will be well lit and surveillance cameras installed. "There will also be deployment of human security to enable people walk to and from the Central Business District without fear," he said.

Ngatia, who is also president of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), promised post Covid-19 business revival plans for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), access to credit, trade levies and construction of industries to ensure value addition of products for domestic and foreign market.

He said the chamber had already started initiatives to stabilise small business under programmes such as a Sh600 million kitty through the Mastercard Foundation Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience project.

“One of my key agenda is to help small enterprises survive the economic downturn and improve their resilience to enable them create jobs and contribute to the country’s economic resurgence," said Ngatia. 

To decongest the city, Ngatia said he has secured international partners, who once he is elected into office, will donate four solar powered trams to help people commute within a 10km radius around the city for free.

“The only cost the government will incur is labour force of the four operators,” he said.

Ngatia is expected to battle it out with other contenders such as Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, UDA's Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, Senator Johnson Sakaja, former Dagoretti MP Dennis Waweru and incumbent Governor Anne Kananu.