Traders in Marsabit town can now heave a sigh of relief following the opening of the multi-million modern market over the weekend.
Completion of the Sh425 million market will enable hundreds of traders who have been operating from the streets under adverse weather conditions to trade in better conditions.
Speaking during the official opening of Saku Modern Market, Governor Mohamud Ali said construction of the flagship project started in 2015 and stalled a year later owing to financial constraints.
"The market will help in de-congesting the town because the traders have been operating in any available space causing chaos within the town," said the governor.
The county expects to generate over Sh1.5 million in monthly revenue from the market, translating to about Sh18 million a year.
The three-storey market consists of 491 stalls with each floor having 80 stalls to cater to various businesses.
Other features include ample parking, a mosque, washrooms, walkways, proper lighting and a creche for babies.
"The challenge is that every seller wants to be on the prime ground floor. We will sit down and agree with the traders which businesses and products should be allocated to the respective floors to accommodate every trader," said the governor.
It was also revealed that the market's design was identical to Gatundu Modern Wholesale Market in Kiambu Town.
"The decision to adopt the Gatundu market design was arrived at after visiting several markets in Kenya and we found that the Gatundu one would suit the needs of traders in Marsabit," said the market's chairperson.
The traders whose temporary structures were gutted by fire and whose stalls were demolished to pave way for construction of the market will be prioritised in allocation of spaces within the market.
Marsabit Senator Hargura Godana, who attended the official opening of the market, said revenue generated from the market will complement cash sent to the county from the National Treasury.
"My appeal to the county government is to prioritise such flagship projects in all the sub-counties. This will create jobs for the youth as well as enhance inter-county trading," said Godana.
Further, Deputy Governor Solomon Gubo said the county will upgrade all the access roads to the market.
The opening of the market came at the time when Marsabit Town was also upgraded to municipality status, becoming the first in the area.
Marsabit Municipality Manager Boru Golicha said the urban improvement programme was part of the Kenya Urban Support Programme jointly funded by the national government and the World Bank.
The multi-million development project puts Marsabit as a force to reckon with in Northern Kenya as the fruits of devolution start to be realised in full.
The Marsabit-Addis Ababa highway, which is part of the 800km stretch between Nairobi and Moyale in the "Great North Road" from Mombasa to Ethiopia, has also contributed to the immense growth of the region.