A bill that is expected to regulate hawking within the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) is at an advanced stage at the County Assembly and is a step in the right direction.
The Nairobi City County Trade Licensing Bill, 2018, which has gone through the second reading, will among other things, guide how the micro businesses are licensed, what they can sell, where they will operate from and the fees they will pay annually. While previous attempts at moving hawkers out of the CBD have always failed, it is worth noting that many small traders are attracted to the city centre because of the perceived ready market due to the busy streets and access to people with purchasing power.
However, the lawmakers and City Hall must ensure that the traders are not given free access to the extent of blocking business premises, especially shops and supermarkets, offices, security installations and other sensitive areas of the city. Their licences ought not to be a permit for laissez faire conditions.
The hawkers must be restricted to certain locations and their presence should not make movement within the city a nightmare for everyone else.