Nairobi News

Hustle

Eastleigh traders threaten to close shops until hawkers move

Eastleigh traders have threatened to close their shops and withhold levies paid to City Hall until hawkers obstructing their business premises are relocated.

Under the Eastleigh Business District Association, the traders cried foul over unfair competition from hawkers selling their wares in front of their malls and stalls at throwaway prices and in the process driving them out of business.

The association’s secretary general, Mr Omar Hussein, said Eastleigh has over 22,000 stalls and 56 malls, which directly employ 89,000 people who would be affected if the hawkers, who have increased in numbers over the recent months and have now taken over the whole of First Avenue all the way to Juja Road, are allowed to have a field day.

LICENCES AND PERMITS

He said stall owners pay on average Sh246 million every year to City Hall in form of licences and permits, in addition to Sh403 million every month for rent and other utilities, yet the hawkers pay nothing.

“This thing has been going on for like five years now but now it has reached a serious level where we will not just sit and watch. The hawkers need to leave or we close our businesses and tell our members not to pay any levies to the county government of Nairobi until the situation is resolved,” said Mr Hussein yesterday.

He lamented that the hawkers, who start occupying the street as early as 8am, sell the same wares as those displayed in the malls and stalls but at a throwaway price as they do not incur overhead costs like shop owners.

“Customers cannot easily access our businesses as they have been blocked by the hawkers. They are also selling the same wares at cheap prices, making it difficult for us to make any profit,” the official said.

BLOCKING ENTRANCE

Mr Ahmed Mohamed Asmali, a trader, said most of the hawkers were ejected from the Nairobi CBD and have relocated to Eastleigh where they are blocking entrants to malls, stalls and pathways on the road.

“We had a meeting with officials from the county government and they assured us that they will act. Let us wait and see because we do not want to go back to the wars we had earlier in the year,” said Mr Asmali.

Mr Ahmed Noor, another trader, called on the county government to set a designated trading area for the hawkers.

“The hawkers also pose a security and inaccessibility threat in case of an emergency,” he said.