All hawkers operating in the 47 counties will be assigned vending zones, should a bill proposed in the Senate pass.
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood) Bill, 2023, has stipulated a regulatory framework for all counties to guide hawkers and highway vendors and bring sanity to the sector.
The plan, sponsored by Nominated Senator Esther Okenyuri, will have data on all street vendors and potential areas where they can operate from within the country.
The county governments will be responsible for subdividing areas into three including restriction-free vending zones, restricted vending zones; or no-vending zones.
Hawkers on the streets of Nairobi
Should a hawker conduct his operations in a restricted or no-vending zone without a special permit, they will face six months in jail or risk a fine not exceeding Ksh10,000 or both.
Under the proposed law, the county governments will also restrict or revoke the license of a registered hawker, if he goes against the law or if his operations prevent the implementation of national or county policies.
The Trade County Executive Committee (CEC) is, however, required to issue a notice to the hawker, justifying the reasons for revoking the licence.
If a hawker fails to relocate to the place specified in the vending licence after the expiry of the notice, they risk a fine of Ksh10,000 for every day of default.
In the plan, the county governments will also be responsible for selecting vending zones suitable for the hawkers in their operations.
This will be based on four factors namely; the recommended location of the county vending plan, the number of street vendors already allocated within the location, the need to ensure that the existing businesses are not affected by the construction of the vending centre, and the existing county physical plans.
Prior to constructing the vending centres, the bill suggests that the county government should install solid waste disposal plans, and provide security, lighting and parking services where necessary.
The bill also proposed that all hawkers should maintain their allocated space in a clean manner and dispose their waste responsibly.
Hawkers who go against the proposals specified in the bill shall be fined Ksh200,000 or face a one-year jail term or both.
Nominated Senator Esther Okenyuri sitting in a Senate Standing Committee on Trade, Industrialization and Tourism on Thursday, May 4, 2023.