Meru County Governor Kiraitu Murungi has ordered traders in Nkubu town to move into a multi-million shilling market that has remained unused for the last five years.
Nkubu horticulture market, which cost more than Sh130 million to build through the Smallholder Horticulture Marketing Programme (Shomap), was completed in 2012 but has never been utilised.
It is one of seven ‘white elephant’ markets and collection centres that were constructed in Meru County at a total cost of Sh248.5 million.
Traders in areas where the facilities are built prefer to sell by the roadside where they say it’s more accessible to customers.
“I lobbied for the construction of this facility while I was MP and it’s unfortunate that it remains unused five years later. Whoever is given space in the market must start paying rates to the county government and put it into use within three months. If a stall is unused after three months, it will be re-allocated to whoever is ready for business,” Mr Murungi said.
A spot check by the Nation established that storage chambers at the Nkubu market were rotting away while the cabro paving is covered by grass and shrubs.
An earlier spot-check at the Sh50 million Kanyakine horticulture market showed benches covered with dust while the Sh23 million Mugambone Banana collection centre has its ceiling falling off.
The facilities were designed to ensure high standards of hygiene with cleaning facilities, cold storage rooms, garbage collection points, incinerators and ripening chambers.
Speaking after touring the deserted Nkubu market, Mr Murungi said he would supervise the allocation of stalls and ensure the facility is put into use.
"We cannot afford to waste the resources that the government has painstakingly allocated to our county," he said.