It was joy and celebration for traders at Uhuru Business Market Complex in Kisumu County, as the Sh600 million facility opened its gates to allow traders who were displaced for infrastructural development within the city to settle and start transacting businesses.
The State Department of Housing and Urban Development constructed the iconic market between 2019 and 2020.
The affected traders were forced to wait for 3 years to settle in the modern trading space, as the process of allocation of stalls was marred by disputes.
Magu Mutindika, Nyanza Regional Commissioner, while gracing the official opening of the facility, said the government is committed to providing traders with a better and safe environment to conduct their businesses.
“As we open this market to the public, we urge traders to move in and occupy the spaces to make it vibrant,” Mutindika said.
The market sitting on 23.29 Ha of land within the town has a capacity to accommodate over 10,000 business people. However, after the official opening of the facility, it is projected to host about 5,000 traders.
The market has twenty open sheds that would be partitioned and fitted with lockable stalls to accommodate traders operating in different sectors.
The businesses to be housed at the market include eateries, fish and meat, general foodstuffs, beauty parlors, salons, barbershops, cosmetic and beauty products. Others are hardware electrical, telephone products, butcheries, bookshops, groceries, computer services among others.
Mutindika further revealed that the government through the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy, will put up a cold storage facility at the market at a cost of Sh40 million.
In addition, the State Department for Industrialization is set to establish a Jua kali Innovation hub at the market at a cost of Sh100 million.
Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o speaking at the same event said his administration is committed to supporting Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) and has prioritised market development in its emergency development plans and has invested in the establishment of premises to house the informal traders.
“Under my leadership, I will ensure no trader works in a dehumanizing environment where they sit under the scorching sun and have nowhere to shelter from rain or answer calls of nature,” Prof Nyong’o assured.
Prof Nyong’o reiterated that the new market would have a huge impact on the lakeside city’s economy by revitalizing SMEs largely affected by the reorganization of the city and the emergence of Covid-19.
“This will result in additional job creation, improved livelihood, and growth in the county’s revenue basket,” added the Governor.
He promised that before the end of his tenure, all the traders who were moved from their original trading areas would be accommodated in the various markets being constructed in the county.
Daniel Kalungu, a beneficiary trader at the market stalls, hailed Governor Nyong’o for ensuring the market is opened at a good time for traders to begin doing their businesses.
“We thank Governor Nyong’o for bringing sanity to the business sector in the county. This is a clear indication that the Governor is keen to improve the lives of the traders and their families,” Kalungu stated.
Further, Kalungu recalled the agonizing moments the team went through during the period they had no trading spaces leading to deaths and divorce cases for some members, occasioned by lack of income for the families.
H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta will commission the market in the coming months.
By Robert Ojwang’