Governors forum puts smile on traders’ faces

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

Traders and hoteliers in Kutus, Kerugoya and neighbouring towns such as Embu, Mwea, Sagana, Karatina, and Nyeri have registered booming business as the sixth Devolution Conference continues in Kirinyaga county.

Small-scale businesses such as shoe shiners and boda boda operations have also witnessed increased earnings.

The 47 governors, county and National government officials and other stakeholders are meeting to take stock of challenges and successes of devolution, which enters its sixth year. The convention was opened on Tuesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

This year’s event has attracted more than 6,000 thousand delegates, including  senators, MPs, and Cabinet secretaries.

The host county’s hospitality industry has been overwhelmed by the high numbers of delegates and some have had to seek accommodation in neighbouring counties.  Murang’a, Nyeri, Embu and Kiambu counties are the biggest beneficiaries of the overflows from the meeting.

Some delegates have however raised concerns over high accommodation rates and have petitioned the Council of Governors to have a pre-bargaining agreement with the industry in future.

A spot check by People Daily, in Kutus, Mwea and Embu town revealed that single rooms that usually go for Sh1,000 now cost around Sh2,500 while a standard room goes for about Sh6,000.

Kirinyaga National Chambers of Commerce and Industry chairman John Kabui defended the charges, saying they is justified owing to the current market demand. He said the hotels and other premises had beefed up their workforce and restocked supplies hence high costs.

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