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Policies on small scale traders to be unified

By | July 15th 2009

By Ramadhan Rajab

Policies of 12 ministries will be harmonised to address the plight of hawkers and the Juakali sector.

If adopted the new National Policy will see all Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) run and co-ordinated under one Inter-Ministerial Committee.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government, Musalia Mudavadi, said the draft National policy will formalise the informal sector to align it with National Economy and the Vision 2030 blue print.

In an opening statement to the National Stakeholders Conference at Multimedia University, Mudavadi said the policy will seek to transform the councils By-Laws to make them more responsive to small businesses.

"We know that absence of a unified policy to harmonise individual ministerial functions for a common purpose has been the major setback to the development of SMEs," Musalia said.

Clear boundaries

He added that the new policy will provide clear boundaries and institutional mandates to avoid overlaps and duplication of efforts.

"We cannot continue pulling in different directions and achieve the desired results, a synchronised co-ordination mechanism is key in managing this sector to address pertinent questions facing the small scale traders," Mudavadi said. Harassment and demolition of stalls for traders by council authorities, dominated the forum, with the ministry admitting, but faulting outdated By-Laws that sometimes criminalise genuine trading activities.

"We are always being chased, left, right, centre and our stalls demolished. In the process we always suffer great losses. We are tired of the kind of treatment we receive from council askaris.

We want to be treated with respect like other Kenyans in the formal sector because we also contribute to growth of the economy," Charles Kalomba general secretary Kenya National Federation of Hawkers said. But in a quick response, the Permanent Secretary Local Government Sammy Kirui said the ministry was committed in addressing the grievances and had instructed all local authorities to provide alternative sites before they move traders."I must admit our shortcomings, this is a sector with bent up frustrations that needs to be addressed and this is why we are committed to bridging the gaps," Kirui said.

He said the Government would put up more than 22 markets in Nairobi to open up working sites for SMEs.

The draft policy is also expected to end bureaucracy that hinders Juakali operators from accessing credit facilities.



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