Jua kali artisans who operate in Murang’a town have expressed optimism about the promises the Azimio presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga has outlined for the sector.
The artisans said they have never been recognized by previous administrations in terms of financial support, saying they welcome Mr Odinga’s plan to boost the sector.
Speaking to KNA on Saturday, the artisans averred what they need is capital to boost their work and market for their products.
They observed if protected from imports of some items, their commodities will get local market thus boost their source of livelihoods.
“This is the first time we have a presidential candidate talking about us. We hope that the Azimio presidential candidate’s promise will be fulfilled if he assumes the top seat after the August 9 election,” said one of the artisans Nicholas Kimani.
He added that the sector was negatively affected during the Covid-19 pandemic and now they need a financial boost, observing that some of them were pushed out of business by coronavirus.
“We operate in pathetic conditions. Not every major trading centre has a designated area for jua kali artisans. The levies we also pay to the county government are also exorbitant,” lamented Kimani.
He continued “we want to be recognized and a fund set aside to boost our work like the devolved funds for youth and women enterprises.”
When he was revealing the plan to jua kali operators some few weeks ago, Odinga said the sector is a single largest employer in the country and a source of livelihood for many.
He noted the expected launch of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy by the government will give a roadmap on how the jua kali sector will be prioritized.
The RPL Policy Framework provides for the recognition of knowledge, skills and competencies regardless of where and how they were acquired.
It is a progression map to facilitate skilled workers’ transition from informality to formality.
The ODM leader stated if he is going to be elected next president, he will make the sector among the largest beneficiaries of the policy since it has artisans operating on different skill levels and has absorbed the majority of the new start-ups.
Murang’a artisans promised to drum up support for Odinga, saying his promises if actualized will be of great benefits to the majority who have invested in the informal sector.