Govt pledges to restore Westgate Mall, aid traders in re-establishing their businesses

By Standard Digital Reporter

Nairobi, Kenya: The government has announced plans to restore Westgate Mall and support traders to re-establish their businesses.

East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said her ministry will facilitate the rapid restoration of the mall following the terrorist attack a fortnight ago.

The high-end mall, which was a popular joint for expatriates and tourists, was attacked by Al Shabaab militants on the September 21.

Security forces battled it out with the militants in a four day siege. Business owners at the premise incurred huge losses during the siege.

While meeting tenants of the mall, Kandie assured the traders that the Government will spearhead an integrated business recovery strategy that will ensure the speedy restoration of the iconic mall.

She added that the ministry will establish a working committee comprising of Westgate Shopping Mall stakeholders.

The cabinet secretary was speaking in her office when she chaired an inter-ministries consultative forum comprising of Westgate Shopping Mall tenants and related stakeholders.

The consultative meeting held at the Ministry Headquarters sought to explore ways and means of mitigating economic losses arising from the closure of the mall.

Prior to the attack, the mall was supporting an economic ecosystem, valued at more than Sh100 billion annually.

The proposed committee will also identify the immediate actions by the Government to safeguard on possible loss of more than 2000 direct jobs resulting from the terror attack.

“The Government of Kenya is sincerely committed to ensuring that Westgate Mall operations do resume within the shortest time possible through a Public Private Partnership model,” Kandie said.

The CS added: “Through this partnership, we shall be further seeking to ensure the overall national economic resilience following the tragic events by reducing levels of business collapse, investor apathy and job losses.”