Scores of Murang’a traders want the government to help them access merchandise from Nairobi and other areas which were recently put under lockdown.
The traders claim that Nairobi, Thika and companies located in parts of Machakos County, were their main sources for goods they sell in their business premises saying currently they are facing an uphill to access manufacturers and main suppliers.
Speaking to KNA on Wednesday, the business people said lack of public transport from Murang’a to Nairobi or Thika has subjected them to suffering as the few vehicles which are allowed to ferry goods are charging exorbitantly.
Mary Wanja said she has not stocked since Nairobi has been her main source of clothes which she sells in her boutique located at the centre of Murang’a town.
“In a business, like selling clothes, it needs one to personally visit distribution stores and get the types of clothes ordered by customers. Here you cannot just send an order and wait for materials to be delivered.
“One cannot pass at the road block mounted at Thika, if an action will not be taken, our businesses will collapse and with that jobs will be lost,” said Wanja.
She added that, before the lockdown which was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday, they relied on public transport to travel to and from Nairobi at a lesser cost.
“If one is lucky to get a permit to allow him or her to pass the roadblock, it requires a private vehicle. Hiring a vehicle is expensive and this may occasion an increase of commodity prices,” she further noted.
Joan Wanjiku, a Matatu operator said the government could have explored other ways to contain the spread of covid-19.
She observed that security officers could have embarked on enforcing Ministry of Health protocols on Covid-19 instead of issuing movement cessation to five counties.
“I think what is much needed is to stress on the need to keep social distance, sanitize, washing of hands among other protocols but locking us from going to Nairobi is greatly affecting many businesses,” added Wanjiku.
In Murang’a, she noted main matatu Sacco ply Murang’a – Nairobi route but after lockdown, the Sacco managements were left with no option rather than to ground their vehicles.
Chairman of Matatu owners in Murang’a Francis Manyeki said the industry is making close to Sh. 10 million loss daily after movement to and from Nairobi was restricted.
He observed that local Saccos own about 4,500 vehicles which operate between Murang’a and Nairobi. “Our vehicles are grounded. Those who were employed are now jobless and many other sectors which relied on our transport are also suffering,” he lamented.
The business community requested the President to come up with measures which will help the common mwananchi earn a daily bread.
By Bernard Munyao and Cynthia Nyamwathi