Mwatate traders to benefit from Sh50 million modern market

Part of Sh50 million Mwatate market in Taita Taveta county. The market will accommodate over 200 traders. The project is being implemented through the World Bank’s Kenya Urban Support Programme and expected to boost the economy of the town and increase county revenue.

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika I Nation Media Group.

Traders in Mwatate town, Taita Taveta are set to benefit from a Sh50 million market under construction in partnership between the county government and the World Bank.

The project implemented through the Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) is set to be completed before the end of this financial year to accommodate over 200 small-scale traders in the area.

KUSP is a five-year World Bank programme targeting 45 counties across the country aimed at improving infrastructure.

Mwatate and Voi towns are beneficiaries of the infrastructural development project, economic setup and the general modernisation of the urban areas.

The Mwatate market is expected to revamp the economy of the town which acquired a municipality status in 2019. The town us also the county headquarters where all government offices are set to be fully established.

The traders said they are optimistic that the new market will open up business opportunities for them especially after huge losses they have incurred since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

The traders have had to endure operating under adverse weather conditions including the scorching sun and rain for years. Some traders have erected temporary shades to shield themselves from the unfavourable weather conditions.

Mwatate market chairperson Sophline Muya said the traders are ready to move to the new facility. She said the market committee is working with the county government department of Trade to allocate stalls and spaces to traders but called for total cooperation between the department officials and the traders.

"We hope process of allocation of spaces and stalls in the new market shall be transparent to us genuine traders,’’ she said.

She said some of the traders might fail to get allocations since there are only 200 stalls out of the 350 traders in the market.

"We want the department to allow some of those who will miss permanent stalls to erect shades outside the market to accommodate all of us," she said.

County executive for Trade Daniel Makoko said the devolved unit is determined to make the business community operate in a conducive atmosphere.

He said the market will revamp the economic status of Mwatate town which has been lagging behind despite being the county headquarters and increase the county revenue.

"The traders will operate in a better place. We will collect revenue from them and this will enable us offer good services to the traders," he said.

The CEC said the arrangement to relocate the traders from the temporary market to the new facility were on.

"The traders have already applied for the spaces. The allocation process is ongoing," he said.

The town has also benefited from improvement of roads and parking areas