Nairobi MCAs vouch for miraa selling points
Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) in Nairobi have asked the national and county governments to set up trading places for miraa merchants and remove the cess levied on the commodity’s transporters.
The ward representatives, mostly from the miraa-growing Meru region, urged the county government to identify an area in the county to act as a permanent market for the miraa traders.
Led by nominated MCA Doris Kanario, the county legislators raised concerns over the continued operation of the miraa traders on roadsides in Eastleigh.
Eastleigh is the main business hub of the stimulant grown mainly in Nyambene region with most of the miraa chewed in Nairobi being sourced from Eastleigh.
The market covers among other places Mlolongo, Rongai, Machakos, Westlands, Parklands, South B and South C, and Nairobi West.
“The traders usually sell the miraa on roadsides which is not healthy. The county government should therefore set aside an area to act as a market for them,” said Ms Kanario.
Further, the MCA, who is also gunning for California Ward seat in 2022, implored the county government to follow in the footsteps of Mombasa County and remove the cess charged on miraa transporters.
On Monday, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho ordered the withdrawal of cess payments for miraa transporters to Mombasa County.
“I would like that (removal of the cess payments) to also be done in Nairobi County.
Removing such barriers will help the miraa traders and transporters,” she said.
According to Nairobi City County Revenue Act, 2015, miraa outlets are supposed to pay Sh2,000 every month as levy for waste collection.
Further, every probox is supposed to pay Sh500, pick up Sh1,000 as offloading fee but if it is transported in bags then a small bag will attract a levy of Sh50 while Sh100 will be for a medium bag.
Utawala Ward MCA Patrick Karani echoed sentiments from his counterpart saying it was time the county government gave the miraa traders a place to sell their commodity.
“The traders have been lacking a market for a long time and I urge the county government to establish a market for them. The government should look after them,” said Mr Karani.
Considered a mild stimulant but categorised by the National Authority for Campaign Against Drug Abuse as a drug, the crop, whose trade is valued at about Sh40 billion a year, lacks proper marketing and is prone to local and regional political manipulation.
Although the World Health Organization classified miraa as a drug of abuse in 1980, it indicated that khat has less effect than tobacco or alcohol.