The Kenya Publishers Association has been accused of hatching a plan to wreck the bookselling industry to benefit its members.
The Kenya Booksellers Association said the decision by the Government to sell books to schools had left its members stuck with dead stock worth over Sh2b.
The booksellers now want the Ministry of Education to give them a fair hearing as they grapple with the risk of closing shop.
Addressing the Press in Nakuru on Friday, the members drawn from Nakuru, Nyeri, Baringo and Uasin Gishu counties led by their Vice Chair Patrick Matindi said the ministry has been ignoring their call for talks on the new policy.
“We tried to have dialogue with two previous Cabinet Secretaries in vain. We have been key partners in the sector, but have been edged out unfairly over unsubstantiated claims,” said Mr Matindi.
He said that 95 per cent of the business booksellers engage in involved public schools and the new policy had greatly affected them and livelihoods of thousands who depend on their ventures.
“For the past two years, our members have laid off at least 200,000 people. We are taxpayers, landlords and tenants. We deserve a conducive business environment,” said Matindi.
His sentiments were echoed by the Nakuru chapter chair Albert Kimani who said schools owe them nearly Sh1b for books supplied on credit.
“Between 2017 and now, we have supplied schools with books worth Sh900m on credit. However, since the Government shifted to direct supply to schools, the debts have not been paid,” said Kimani.