County dilemma as 3000 traders seek allocation of 200 market stalls

More than 3,000 traders have applied to be allocated 200 shops at the refurbished Karatina market.

The market, which currently houses 1,399 fresh produce traders, was expanded to accommodate more business people who could offer different services.

The businesses to be set up in the new stalls include butcheries, tuck shops, financial services (mobile money), beauty shops, electronics and household goods stores, boutiques, and tailoring services.

County Executive for Trade, Tourism and Cooperatives Diana Kendi released a statement saying the 3,000 applicants would have to ballot for the stalls to ensure fairness in their allocation.

Six cooperative societies have also applied to set up offices in the market. They include Enea Sacco, Baricho Farmers Cooperative Society, Mt Kenya Organic Farmers Group, Slopes Dairy, Kagochi Travellers Sacco and Ragati Tea Factory.

“Other shops have been allocated traders who initially occupied the market before construction commencement, cooperative societies with thousands of members and those that had shops in the old and now closed market,” said Ms Kendi.

Another group of 1,722 traders also applied for the shops after the county government invited expression of interest.

Each of the applicants paid Sh1,000 as non-refundable registration fee during the application process. A list of more than 250 traders whose applications were rejected was posted on the county government's website.

Some of the reasons given for the failed applications included making multiple applications, failure to produce identification documents and Kenya Revenue Authority tax payment numbers, and submitting illegible documents.

Last year, traders at the market protested claiming they were not in support of plans to charge Sh10,000 for 21 periphery stalls and Sh7,000 for second floor stalls, as stipulated in the Finance Bill 2018.

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