What industry feels about Sh3b stimulus package
President’s Uhuru Kenyatta’s long-awaited stimulus package targeting hotels hardest hit by coronavirus to boost the tourism and hospitality industry set to be launched this week is attracting mixed reactions from stakeholders.
Principal players in the industry say that a package of only Sh3 billion was not appetising for a delicate sector that contributed 8.8 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019.
Under the umbrella of Kenya Association of Hotels Keepers and Caterers (KAHC) members say they deserved more, if the government is serious about reviving the crucial sector.
However, Kenya Association of Tour Operators, through its CEO, Fred Kaigua appreciated the loan, noting that “it was worth it at this critical moment of instability”.
He added that it will be attractive to members because of the single digit interest rate and the terms offered.
Tourism Finance Corporation head, Jonah Orumoi said stakeholders in the industry will access the loan “at a lower market rate of 5 per cent.
“They will also enjoy a grace period of between six to 12 months”, he added.
The other incentive will be a 10-year repayment period. The loan will only benefit businesses that are registered with the Tourism Regulatory Authority and ready to use local available workforce and materials to promote the government policy of buy Kenya build Kenya.
KAHC Executive director, Sam Ikweya argues that more that two million international tourists arrived in the year 2019, spending more than Sh160 billion.
“Based on these figures alone, the leadership should have lobbied for a bigger cake”, notes Ikweya who argued that the least amount of money required to construct and operate a three star facility required not less than Sh5 billion.