Traders ask to be involved in decision making

By Mercy Kahenda - Kenya

Kenya National Alliance of Street Vendor and Informal Traders has called on the Central and County Governments to involve informal traders in investment decisions.

The traders said that involvement of small traders will help them understand projects better. They were speaking during a training of hawkers that brought representatives from counties countrywide held at a Nakuru hotel where they were trained on the importance of authority in the County Governments.

Led by Mr John Kihiu, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman said elected leaders in County Governments should empower small businesses since they are the main contributors to revenue generation.

"Traders pay tax to the council to sell their products and without them, the council will not collect any revenue," said Kihiu. Kihiu said that most community trading centres in the country have been grabbed by private developers leaving traders with no trading areas.

He called upon the newly elected local authority to identify community markets and make sure traders operate their business smoothly without any intimidation.

On his part, chairman of Nakuru Street Traders and Hawkers Association, Simon ole Nasieku condemned acts by Nakuru authority to evacuate vendors without notice.

"It is only two weeks after elections and vendors and hawkers within Nakuru are surprised at being evacuated from the streets yet there is no specific area indentified for them," said Mr Nasieku.

He noted that the hawkers were dislocated in 2010 by the council from Wakulima Market and they have been selling their products on the streets.

However, Deputy Nakuru Town Clerk Evans Lavusa said the municipal council has not evacuated any trader or hawker from the streets and that the complaints are not credible.

He added that the municipal is constructing a market which will accommodate all the traders.

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StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.

Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.

The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies