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Hardware shops face closure as construction stalls

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Rawal Patel, one of the leading hardware shop owners in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu county, is staring at closure of his business over the current political standoff in the country. 

Patel operates a well-stocked shop along Ronald Ngala Street within the town’s central business district. He says the prolonged political activities have ruined his business and scared away his customers, key among them developers in real estate. 

He admits that he has been relying on a booming real estate sector, public and private institutions of higher learning in the county, which he used to supply various construction and building materials on order. Business started slowing down weeks to the August 8 General Election. 

However, immediately after the elections, his business returned to normalcy, with sales registering an upward trend and he made good profits. But soon after presidential election loser Raila Odinga of National Super Alliance (Nasa) protested the outcome of the election results and moved to the Supreme Court, things started to change for the worse. 

On September 1, the Supreme Court rendered its judgment, annulling the victory of Jubilee Party presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta’s elections. Patel’s sales to the building and construction sector took a nosedive and losses were unavoidable. “All my stocks which I sourced from Nairobi are still intact in the stores. My big customers are no longer making orders as they used before the elections,” he says. 

Patel’s hardware shop sells construction materials that include water pipes, cement, iron sheets, nails, doors, locks, paints and related components. He regrets that since the political campaigns kicked off from early this year, he has lost more than 50 per cent of his business due to uncertainty over the outcome of the elections. 

“I used to receive orders of building materials worth Sh100,000 and even more in a day but things have now changed from bad to worse due to the political activities ahead of the October 26 repeat president election,” he says. Patel has to pay rent, electricity, water and salaries to his workers but given the current business environment, he is not certain if he will sustain the budget. 

 

-www. peopledaily.co.ke

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