Business owners who lost property during last September's terrorist attack on the Westgate mall want the government to provide interest-free loans to enable them settle debts with banks. They have proposed support from the Sh6 billion Uwezo Fund . Terry Mungai , the director of Ashley's Hair and Beauty Academy , told the committee on the restoration of Westgate Shopping Mall traders lost stock and were struggling to repay bank loans. "We know that the government does not have money just lying around but we would want them to consider giving us loans interest-free or at rates that are much lower than those of the banks because we cannot re-establish our businesses without funds," Ms Mungai said at the ongoing public hearings at Charter Hall . The entrepreneur who owned a beauty salon on the mall's second floor told the commission that she had taken loans of Sh15 million from banks. Import-duty waiver Ms Mungai told the committee that her business had incurred a loss of Sh1.8 million in stock and a further Sh21,000 stolen from the cash register. She said the money could be drawn from the Uwezo fund and paid directly to financiers with businesses paying back the money once their operations return to normal. She said traders should also be considered for import-duty waivers to help them restock. Dr Pushpa Sachdeva told the committee that despite taking terrorism insurance cover for her clinic, she suffered Sh30 million loss. "Although I had taken up a terrorism cover due to warnings that malls were targets of attack, the insurance is taking long to pay out and only Sh5 million has been paid to date," she said. Dr Sachdeva said mall owners should hold regular security meetings with tenants. The public hearings end Wednesday and the team is expected to file its findings in a month's time. Al-Shabaab militia claimed responsibility for the mall attack that killed 67 people and wounded more than 200 others on September 21 last year. A 16-member committee led by Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero was appointed by East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Secretary, Phyllis Kandie to lead the restoration.
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