A new modern market is set to be built in Namanga town of Kajiado County to reduce congestion within the One Stop Border Post(OSBP).
Ministry of East Africa Community and Regional Development in partnership with Kajiado County government will build the market on a 500-acre piece of land to ensure smooth exchange of goods.
State Department for East African Community Principal Secretary,Dr. Kevit Desai noted that at least 1,300 trucks pass through the Namanga OSBP daily as well as thousands of travellers criss-crossing the border and added traders need a strategic place to sell their wares.
“Service delivery around our border areas must be improved to ensure movement of goods continues to flow without interruptions as the transportation of cargo is critical to the sustainability of the economy. Therefore we have deemed it wise to look for an alternative land where we will build a modern market for our small scale traders especially those that depend on the border traffic,” Dr Desai said.
The PS reiterated the importance of practising safe trade especially at this time of the Covid -19 pandemic saying it is key to the survival of the economy.
“ Movement of goods is critical for any nation and we are not different therefore as a Ministry we have engaged friendly development partners and requested the Personal Protective Gears (PPEs) for our staff as they continue to discharge their mandate, to protect them from contracting Covid-19 since already this area has been defined as a hot spot area,” he said.
In his sentiments, Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku lauded the move terming it as a major lift to propel the small business enterprises into the new era of conducting business.
Lenku noted that the proposed market would be a welcome relief to women who sell their beadwork in the scorching sun at the border town to tourists since they will have a place to sit and display their beads and also store their stock .
“In the last few years, we have seen a high increase in business activities at the border especially after the completion of the OSBP. Women from remote parts of Kajiado usually come to this shop to sell their beadwork and other items to tourists passing through the border and therefore the construction of the new market is highly welcome because they will no longer have to carry their stocks around. Trade will be organised and all of them will be able to earn a decent living from their business due to seamless flow of activities,” said Governor Lenku.
The Chairman of Cross-border Traders association John Matina lauded the move and appealed to the Ministry to fast track the process of setting up the market quickly to cushion traders from the frequent harassment meted out to them either by the border or County government officials.
“It is important that all stakeholders are involved so that we can fast track the process and safeguard the security and business activities of the traders at the border,” Matina said.
Namanga OSBP was launched on 1st December 2018 by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Tanzanian President John Magufuli.
The duo had expressed optimism to the small-scale traders that the border post will facilitate them to do business across the border unhindered.
By Rop Janet and Albert Lemomo