Kidero, Kirubi in heated de­bate over dis­mal busi­ness cli­mate

Traders say the city is dirty and com­plain of street urchins, traf­fic jams, il­le­gal struc­tures, garbage, dis­rup­tive hawk­ers and dou­ble tax­a­tion that hurt trade

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Nairobi - JULIUS OTIENO AND ANNITA SINEI @TheS­tarKenya

Nairobi Gover­nor Evans Kidero has been pub­licly taken two task for the sec­ond time in three months over the city’s poor busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

At a City Hall fo­rum yes­ter­day, Kidero blamed pol­i­tics for the prob­lems and said the sit­u­a­tion is im­prov­ing.

The Kenya Pri­vate Sec­tor Al­liance com­plained to the city boss about traf­fic con­ges­tion, dou­ble tax­a­tion, street urchins, garbage, hawk­ers and il­le­gal struc­tures.

Busi­ness­man Chris Kirubi and Kepsa chief ex­ec­u­tive Ca­role Kar­iuki en­gaged the gover­nor in a heated de­bate af­ter the city boss blamed po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests for the prob­lems busi­nesses face.

Kirubi asked Kidero not to use pol­i­tics to jus­tify fail­ure but to work to make the city friend­lier to busi­ness.

“Do your work and stop blam­ing pol­i­tics, there is no pol­i­tics in clean­ing the city,” he said.

The busi­ness­man asked the gover­nor to ex­plain the county’s fail­ure to ex­pand ex­ist­ing mar­kets and es­tab­lish new ones to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing num­ber of street ven­dors.

When Trade ex­ec­u­tive Anne Othoro rose to an­swer him, Kirubi de­manded that he only be an­swered by the gover­nor. “I have been en­gag­ing you many times and noth­ing has changed,” he said at the fo­rum.

In Au­gust, the Nairobi Busi­ness Mem­ber­ship Or­gan­i­sa­tions Coali­tion com­plained to the gover­nor about the poor busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

Kidero said the county in part­ner­ship with the World Bank is ren­o­vat­ing and con­struct­ing new mar­kets for Sh6 bil­lion.

“West­lands Mar­ket will be com­plete in eight weeks. We are re-con­struct­ing City Park Mar­ket to ac­com­mo­date many traders and work­ing on Muthurwa, Karan­dini Mar­ket on Jo­goo Road, Dagoretti Mar­ket and City Mar­ket,” he said.

Kidero said po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence is to blame for traf­fic jams in Nairobi. He said the Pres­i­dent gave an or­der al­low­ing 14-seater mata­tus in the city and they are the lead­ing cause of traf­fic con­ges­tion in the CBD.

Traf­fic po­lice have also re­fused to stop con­trol­ling traf­fic, de­spite the func­tion be­ing de­volved, the gover­nor said.

Wan­jiku Man­yara of the Petroleum In­sti­tute of East Africa said il­le­gal struc­tures next to busi­nesses pose a se­cu­rity threat and busi­ness­peo­ple are spend­ing a lot of money to hire se­cu­rity guards.

The county’s fail­ure to har­monise taxes has led to dou­ble tax­a­tion which leads to losses, she said.

“For ex­am­ple, we pay the county for bill­board ad­ver­tis­ing at the same time we pay Kenha. The same is hap­pen­ing in brand­ing,” Man­yara added.

/ COUR­TESY

Nairobi Gover­nor Evans Kidero ad­dresses mem­bers of the Kenya Pri­vate Sec­tor Al­liance dur­ing a break­fast round­table in Nairobi yes­ter­day

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