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Plans to complete stalled markets under ESP

The national government has allocated funds for the completion of stalled market projects that were done under the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP).

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Housing, Urban Planning, and Public Works, Johana Ngeno, has revealed that in the current financial year, some funds were factored in to complete markets that stalled between 2008 and 2012.

Ngeno, who spoke when he led members of his committee to pay a courtesy call to Murang’a Governor Irungu Kang’ata on Wednesday, divulged that a number of the markets done under ESP were left incomplete, and even those that were completed, traders shied away from utilising them.

“There are funds to revive some of the feasible markets done under ESP, but it’s unfortunate some of these markets were completely destroyed and others have remained underutilised as traders abandoned them,” said Ngeno.

The chairperson attributed the failure of the programme to lack of proper public participation, saying local traders and members of the community were not consulted before the markets were constructed.

“There was no public participation, so traders shied from using the completed markets. Some were constructed in locations which are far from the main towns, thus prompting traders to abandon the facilities,” he added.

The chairperson called on county governments and the State Department of Housing and Public Works to fully embrace public participation, especially before embarking on the construction of other facilities made for public use.

“It’s also emerged that some markets were abandoned due to poor design of the building. Before any market is done, as a committee, we call for public participation since the local people will be the users of the facilities.

“During the public participation, the locals who will be users of the markets and other public amenities will give views on the location and design, among other issues that need to be factored in,” he added.

During their visit, members of the committee inspected the ongoing construction of Kangari, Muthithi, and Kanyenyaini markets, which are at various levels of completion and funded by the national government.

Kenyenyaini market in Kangema Sub County, constructed at a cost of Sh31 million, is complete and awaiting commissioning, while a Sh342 million six-storey Kangari market in Kigumo Sub County is 70 percent complete. Meanwhile, Muthithi Market, costing Sh101 million, is 53 percent complete.

Both Muthithi and Kangara markets are expected to be completed and commissioned by December this year.

Ngeno called for collaboration between the State Department of Housing and the county government to ensure smooth implementation of the projects.

On his part, Governor Kang’ata lauded the national government for its effort to construct the markets in Murang’a, saying they would boost farming and trade in the county.

He revealed that his administration has also embarked on upgrading local markets, saying that construction of four markets was already underway.

“In the current financial year, we have set aside money to upgrade markets so as to give our traders a conducive environment to conduct their businesses. Some of the markets that are being upgraded include Ithiru, Kihoya, Kambit, and Ichichi.

Kang’ata further pledged to work in partnership with the national government to ensure the construction of affordable housing is rolled out in the county.

The government proposes to have affordable social housing near slum areas to assist low-income earners in getting decent houses.

By Bernard Munyao

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