Nairobi hawkers and residents will soon have more space for commercial play if the County moves ahead to implement a new plan to build 20 additional multi-storeyed retail markets in the city within the next two years to ease pressure on the already overstretched facilities. The new markets are expected to provide more space for small businesses and could possibly rid the city streets of the hawking debacle.

Construction of the new facilities will be undertaken by the County government in conjunction with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry following a partnership between the chamber’s Nairobi chapter and the Business Advocacy Fund (BAF) to draft a Markets and Infrastructure Bill (M&I) which will address the challenges posed by an acute shortage of retail space in the capital.

Clarity on the costs of the project are on hold pending the tendering process.

According to Nairobi Trade Executive Allan Igambi, the Bill aims at enforcing set standards in construction and management of all retail markets across the city. He said they want to ensure all our markets are storied in order to increase space and ensure safety and health standards are observed.

Physical planning ratios requires that there should be a market for every 25,000 people in the city according to the draft 2018-2022 County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP). However, there are currently 20 open-air markets and 23 large markets leaving the city with a deficit of 126 markets.

If approved by Nairobi County assembly, the M&I Bill will put in place a structure for planning, development of market standards and their funding as well as construction. It will also provide the framework for maintenance, management and governance of market infrastructure in the county

The Bill will ensure inclusion and involvement of Micro and Small Enterprises in the planning for markets and allocation of spaces with the end goal being to create more revenues to the county government and of course, more jobs.

Source; Business Daily