Relief for traders as County Government okays resumption of market days

Loya, 24th August– Business people in Turkana can now 4breath a sigh of relief after the County Department of Trade acceded to pleas by traders to resume operations of open air markets, after months of closure due to the Corona Virus pandemic.

The decision to re-open markets follows last week’s resolution by Governors from North Rift Economic Block (NOREB) in a meeting in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

NOREB Interim Chairperson H.E Governor Jackson Mandago in a statement while announcing resumption of the Livestock Market called upon respective Livestock Market Management Committees to work closely with County Departments of Livestock and that of Public Health, National and County Government Administration as well as the National Police Service to ensure traders in the markets embrace behavioural change as stipulated while engaging in all market processes. Markets which will fail to comply with these guidelines will be closed indefinitely.

Speaking today at Loya in Lokiriama/Lorengippi ward when she officiated re-opening of Loya border market, County Executive for Trade, Youth and Gender Affairs Ms Esther Lokwei called on youth and women-led businesses to register in groups to enable them benefit from the Kshs.133 million Youth and Women Empowerment Funds set to disbursed by the County Government in the next few months.

She added that gender and youth officers will soon move to the wards to sensitize wananchi on eligibility criteria, whilst distributing group loan application form to qualifying and registered groups.

While decrying the socio-economic impact of Corona Virus to the busssines Community in Turkana, CEC Lokwei urged residents to invest in livestock trade and other forms of business to generate income as alternative source of livelihood other than the traditional rearing of livestock for prestige and cultural purposes.

She promised to organize for a joint cross-border trade mission, in liaison with her counterpart in West Pokot County, to address concerns on imbalances in trade practices along the border point.

On the reported cases of illegal market and cross border border conflict between Turkana and West Pokot Counties, CEC Lokwei called for calm and patience among residents stating that the County Government officials together with National Administration will work together to address the issue to create harmony whilst deepening trade relations along the Loya and Nawoiyapong’ border areas.

County Chief Officer for Trade Dr. Michael Eregae assured traders that the department had budgeted Kshs. 10 million that will be used for renovation of the border market to create a conducive business environment for traders.

Dr. Eregae called for strict adherence to the Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols on Corona Virus adding that the County Government will improve infrastructure in all markets in Turkana to enable traders transact business with minimal challenges.

Trade Director James Lokwale said that the expansion works to be undertaken in Loya market will comprise a perimeter fence, open shed, ablution block, store, resting shed and a raised water tank in order to give a face-lift to the market.

The Loya integrated fresh produce and livestock market host traders from Turkana and West Pokot Counties as well as Tepeth community from the neighboring country of Uganda.

Others who spoke included Turkana County Chamber of Commerce Director and Committee Chair on Livestock and Agri-business Ms Elizabeth Lokolio, County Livestock Market Council Chairperson Joseph Losuru and Lorengippi location area Chief, Nathan Loong’orio.