Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya led dignitaries and wananchi in a colourful ceremony to officially open the Kombani wholesale fresh produce market in Matuga Sub-County.
The market was co-funded by the European Union (EU) the Kwale County Government.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Charles Keter, the Ambassador of the EU to Kenya, Henriette Geiger, and the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ministry of Devolution, Gideon Mung’aro, were among top officials who graced the occasion.
In his address, Muvrya noted that the occasion was a special one as the modern market, which would be the largest in the coastal region after the Kongowea market in Mombasa, will be a game changer in the local economy serving local farmers, 1,000 traders and 75 wholesalers.
The new market, located at the junction of Likoni-Lunga Lunga-Tanga-Dar es Salaam and Likoni-Kwale-Kinango-Samburu highways, is meant to create market for farmers’ produce and promote trading activities hence boosting the devolved government’s revenue base.
He thanked the National Government and the EU for the partnership in financing the Kombani Market at a cost of Sh130 million with his administration contributing Sh10 million.
The governor said his administration will mobilize suppliers, farmers and traders to use the newly launched facility fully.
He thanked Kwale and Kombani people in particular for remaining patient as they awaited for the market opening.
Mvurya said that the new market will help residents fight poverty as well as increase their household incomes besides contributing to local revenue collection and simultaneously improve service delivery.
“You remained patient knowing that the devolved unit is involved with projects that benefit the people and the eventual opening of this market,” he said.
He added that the establishment of the Kombani Market will create jobs to the people of Kwale at large.
The Governor said the Kombani market is strategically positioned to attract business and supplies from the four sub-counties, neighbouring Tanzania as well as Mombasa County.
“The ongoing construction works of the multibillion Dongo Kundu bypass once complete will further open up our coastal county for business as far as Kilifi County,” he said.
“I urge local business people to embrace this new market with zeal and spur socio-economic activities in the region,” he said.
The EU envoy said that to accomplish the facility, it took patience and persistence and urged people to take advantage of the market to do serious business.
Geiger noted that the funding for the market was done through the Instruments for Devolution Advice and Support (IDEAS) which she said is a bilateral programme between the Government of Kenya and the EU.
She said the overall objective of the programme is to contribute to the implementation of the devolution process in Kenya through strengthening national institutional capacities in the management of the devolution process and fiscal decentralization and development of capacities in counties to facilitate inclusive and sustained economic growth, participatory planning and service delivery.
“The intention of the EU is to ensure that people benefit from the market and to bring socio-economic impact to their lives,” she said, adding that the EU would continue to support counties to rebuild their economies.
On his part, Keter commended the good job done by the county administration for the proper execution of the project works.
“This is a good job and we want our farmers and traders to use this opportunity to do business and grow their businesses,” he said.
The CS hailed the devolved unit for using the public funds for the intended purpose.
“If there was misuse of funds, we would not have seen the completion and commissioning of this huge project and it is obvious money was well spent here,” he noted.
By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi