Hoteliers in Naivasha launch fresh bid to have town status reviewed

Hoteliers in Naivasha and the Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) have launched a fresh campaign to have the town’s status reviewed upwards.

They have petitioned the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to review the daily subsistence allowance rates for civil servants working in the town.

This came as it emerged that booking had dropped to 20 per cent and tens of workers were facing the sack due to the unpopular move by SRC to review downwards the workers per diem.

Early in the year, SRC gazetted new rates where Nakuru was ranked with Mombasa, Kisumu and Nairobi while Naivasha fell in a lower cluster meaning a lower per diem for government workers.

According to the chairperson Naivasha Hoteliers association Rahab Mwihaki, the move was unfair and had locked tens of hoteliers out of business.

She noted that Naivasha had over 10,000 rooms and was second to Mombasa in terms of conferencing but currently only 1,000 rooms were occupied.

“We are appealing to the President to intervene as we have invested millions into constructing hotels but all workshops are now destined for Nakuru due to the better per diems,” she said.

Speaking during a consultative meeting on Monday, Mwihaki questioned the rationale used by SRC to downgrade the town’s status yet it was part of Nakuru County.

“This move has affected farmers who supply food to hotels and the workers yet Naivasha has the capacity to hold more visitors than Naivasha,” she said.

Naivasha MP Jane Kihara promised to raise the issue with the new CS for Tourism adding that Naivasha had the potential of being a Resort City.

She termed the directive by the government that all meetings be held in boardrooms as an unattainable warning that this spelt doom for the hospitality sector.

“This is a friendly and listening government and I will engage the necessary departments so that the town’s status can be elevated,” she said.

The chairman of KNCCI Nakuru County Stephen Thuo admitted that the review by SRC had affected many hoteliers and put under threat, tens of jobs.

“Currently hotels in Nakuru are fully booked for conferences yet Naivasha which is closer to Nairobi and has the capacity has been ignored unfairly,” he said.

A hotelier, Mark Kariuki, said that the SRC directive had made Naivasha unattractive to those willing to hold workshops despite having the best workshop amenities in the country.

“We have petitioned parliament and SRC to relook into this directive as it has far-reaching consequences to hoteliers, farmers and even small-scale traders around Naivasha,” he said.



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