Written by Eric Lumbasi
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The Kimilili Municipal Market.
Kimilili town has cut a niche for itself as an incumbent in the economic sector in Bungoma County as it stands out to be a preferred centre for the thriving small scale business as well as the transport industry largely depending on bicycle and motorcycle services.
Having two market centers, the town has been able to attract a large population of business people from within the County and the neghbouring ones as well as customers who travel over a long distance to be able to access the fresh vegetables and fruits whose source is normally Mount Elgon region.
The main market which also houses the recently launched Sh30 million Municipal Council market has its main day on Thursdays and is situated at the Junction to Bokoli and Matili, meanwhile the smaller market is situated next to the Kimilili bus park with an old building which the business fraternity is calling upon the municipal council to renovate it to help enhance their business in the town.
Some of the food produce from Mount Elgon region include tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peas, cabbages, and garlic which is normally transported by donkeys and others who are well off using Lorries to be sold to business people in the town at a wholesale price.
Christine Mwelu who has been in the business for a year now confesses that it is a stable business since it deals with everyday consumption goods hence a must buy for people.
She further disclosed that despite the ever increasing competition from people who daily join the business, the profit margin for the goods sold oftenly doubles hence making ends meet for her and comfortably lets her take care of the rest of her family’s needs.
However she appealed to the Municipal Council of Kimilili to renovate their stalls at the smaller market as some of them are dilapidated so as to attract customers as well as enhance security of their goods during the night as it has proven to be cumbersome to most of them who transfer their goods with them to their homes.
“Our stalls should be made in such a manner that we can lock our stuff and also should be installed with electricity so as to diversify our business like blending of fruits,” added Mwelu.
However in a study West Fm found out that most of the stalls in the launched Municipal Council market are normally not occupied by business people as most of them prefer to sell their goods from the pavement during the market day citing easy access to them by customers.
In the transport sector, a cross section of the boda boda operators expressed their satisfaction in the business saying it has helped most of them who used to be idle to transform their lives to be industrious people in the society.
The Kimilili District bodaboda chairman Stephen Wanyonyi said currently there are close to 400 motorcycle operators in the town with four certified stages at the District Commissioners offices, Riziki supermarkert, Town junction and the last at the Thursday’s markert.
He appreciated the fact that 170 members have joined a sacco that has so far uplifted their lives through the savings they contribute monthly.
“We have a registration fee of Sh500 then monthly contributions of Sh150 of which we have opened up a bank account with officials who oversee the running of the sacco,” said Wanyonyi.
He further disclosed that they are focusing on purchasing a vehicle that will serve in the public transport sector and also cater for the emergency needs of the sacco members like transporting some of the ailing members to the hospital during the night and during emergencies and bad weather conditions.
Nevertheless he said that the members have a merry go round arrangement where members contribute a certain amount of money which normally uplifts the members financially especially during the current economic hardships experienced in the country.
Wanyonyi revealed that in a normal day an operator can take home between Sh600- Sh1000 especially between 1st and 18th of a month and Sh450 between 19th -30th of every month.
“Our sacco has been able to cultivate a mutual relationship with the traffic Base Commander and we are an organized group no friction with the law,” added Wanyonyi.
On the other hand few bicycles are still in operation in the town since inception of the motorcycles in the town.
It has been noted that many travelers prefer motorcycles to bicycles since they can reach to far places very fast and can carry upto two passengers although some extend to three.
Kennedy Simiyu one of the bicycle riders disclosed that they have been reduced to operate within the town centre and many of them survive by only transporting school children.
However he expressed optimism that by the end of each day the normally takes home upto Sh300 which is way better than just idling around, he says.
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