Nairobi, Kenya Feb 25 – Moses Kuria, the Trade CS, has criticized former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i for allegedly issuing work permits to Chinese traders operating at the China Square within the Unicity Mall.
In a statement made on February 25th, Kuria accused Matiang’i of disregarding the interests of local traders who have been struggling to earn a living in the city’s central business district.
According to Kuria, the Chinese traders, who have flooded the city’s informal economy, are hurting small and medium-sized businesses in the area.
“We welcome Chinese investors to Kenya, but as manufacturers, not traders,” Kuria said.
“We must prioritize the interests of local traders who are the backbone of our economy.”
Kuria’s criticism came just a day after he offered to buy out the lease for China Square, Unicity Mall and hand it over to the Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa, and Eastleigh Traders Association.
The move is seen as an attempt to alleviate the struggles of local traders who have been affected by the influx of Chinese traders in the city.
Kuria’s proposal was directed to Professor Paul Wainaina, the Vice-Chancellor of Kenyatta University, which owns the property where China Square is located.
It is not yet clear whether Prof Wainaina has accepted the offer.
The China Square at Unicity Mall is a popular hub for Chinese traders who import cheap goods for sale in the city.
The traders have been accused of engaging in unfair trade practices, such as tax evasion and selling counterfeit products.
Kuria’s criticism of the former Interior Cabinet Secretary comes amid growing concerns about the impact of Chinese traders on the Kenyan economy.
The government has been under pressure to take action against illegal traders who are said to be hurting local businesses.
Many Kenyans have also expressed concern about the country’s increasing dependence on China, which has invested heavily in Kenya’s infrastructure projects in recent years.
Critics say the investments have come at a high cost to the country, with many of the projects mired in controversy over corruption allegations