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Renting some commercial space in Thika has become damn expensive and deterrent especially for small traders and business start-ups who in most cases start businesses with money borrowed as loans, from long-term savings or from proceeds from sale of some property.
These people hit the ground with very high expectations and hopes for a brighter tomorrow. Unfortunately, in reality, they are hit by the damn reality of very exploitative rents that are extremely very high.
If you take stalls for instance, the amount demanded by landlords is extremely high and very few businesses survive for more than 6 months.
Stalls facing the road are going at 50,000/- per month and one is expected to pay 6 months advance. That's a cool 300,000/- even before buying any stock. Other overhead costs might bring the figure to around 500,000/-, notwithstanding the fact that one might have an employee. This simply means that one needs almost a million shillings to kick off.
This is just too much and many are not able to cope considering the fact that these traders are expected to cough around 60,000/- in monthly rent and overhead costs.. How many businesses will earn you a daily profit of 2,000 plus now what will call your net on top?
Our survey in Thika has revealed that only about 20% of those who rent them go beyond that period. Most of them freeze away after six months when the deposit expires, close shop and leave or sell the "goodwill" to another person. It is a fact that these stalls keep exchanging hands so very few people note that.
The landlords don't care since the moment one is unable to pay, they take up that other one who is dying to start and the cycle continues.
As much as we blame the government for collapsing businesses, we too are our own enemies... Sucking others' blood to the last drop and yet expect them to survive. No wonder we are always complaining of too much insecurity, drug abuse and alcoholism since we ain't promoting a conducive environment to do business.

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