It is not easy to set up a hotel in Kenya. Forget about the vibanda you see on the side of the road. We are talking about a proper hotel.
In a recent interview, Lee Njiru, a close friend of former President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, and who owns a hotel, said that Kenya is not friendly to hotel owners.
He said the government charges his hotel training fee, and for the 20+ years he has been in business, none of his employees has ever been trained.
He also said that the government charges him tourism fees, but there is no single day they have ever directed a tourist into his hotel.
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Lee Njiru’s sentiments have been shared by many hotel owners around the country over the years. Before going further, here are the licenses you need to operate a hotel in Kenya:
- County Government License
- National Government License
- Music Copyright License
- Signage License
- NEMA License
- Ministry of Health License
- Covid-19 Licence from MoH
- Business Permit
- Liquor Permit
- Tourism Catering
- Fire Inspection
- Tourism Regulatory Authority permit
There have been calls by stakeholders within the hotel industry for the government of Kenya, in conjunction with county governments, to work on a single permit for various businesses, especially those in hotels.
The Governor of Nairobi County Johnson Sakaja was among those who promised to implement a single business permit for Nairobi businesses. As soon as he was elected, he forgot about everything.
Having so many licenses isn’t even a big problem. The problem occurs when one has to pay a bribe at almost every stage of every permit. This has killed so many business ideas before takeoff.
Given that the Kenya Kwanza government was to milk as many taxes as possible from both individuals and Kenyan businesses, streamlining the permits for businesses should be their first place to start.
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