Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro has assured investors that his administration will clear pending bills amounting to Sh. 1.5 billion shillings but after a proper audit.

He said this at Ocean Beach hotel in Malindi town during a dinner meeting with business people and investors where hoteliers complained of pending bills in excess of Sh. 25 million spanning three years.

“You will bear with me as I know that many hoteliers are suffering at the moment because of bills not paid. Allow me to audit all accounts and I assure you that you will be paid after a proper scrutiny of the books is done,” he said.

Ms. Maureen Awuor, the chairperson of Kenya Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KHCT) said that the pending bills had affected their business and called on the governor to come up with a proper procurement policy that will see bills paid on time.

“The hotel managers are talking about the pending bills and it is a big problem. If the county can get a proper procurement policy plan, it is going to help rather than people going to the hotels then the bills will be paid three years later,” she said.

She also called on Mung’aro to lobby for the extension of the runway at the Malindi International Airport to allow huge aircrafts to land directly from overseas in a move to improve tourism fortunes.

“Our airport is an international one but the planes cannot land here because the runway is short. We want you to lobby so that it can be extended because that is the only way we will attract tourists directly to Malindi,” she added.

Mr. Majid Swaleh, the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce in Malindi urged Mung’aro to invest in agriculture to curb rural urban migration since the jobs in local towns were few and competitive.

“We ask our governor to invest in agriculture because our people come from the interior places looking for better jobs which are not there in towns but with agriculture they can get empowered and employment wherever they are. Seriously we are depending on tourism in Kilifi and if we don’t focus we will remain for another five years of no improvement,” he said.

Mr. Philemon Mwavala, a tour operator and owner of Southern Sky Safari’s decried punitive policies that had a negative impact on tourism such as high taxation and park fees that had pushed many players out of business.

“There has been a lot of suffering and policies that are not favorable to tourism. We appreciate your reaching out to numerous players to seek their understanding so that when we put all these things together I am sure Kilifi will take its rightful position in tourism numbers and the right revenues and economic empowerment of the people of Kilifi,” he said.

Other players called on the County to close all illegal dumpsites in Malindi town and invest in recycling plants that will create employment and products out of the garbage collected.

“Establish an efficient and sustainable garbage collection system, close all illegal dumpsites and establish recycling plants and promote investments in clean energy because by doing so you will not only ensure there is a clean environment but it will create jobs for our people,” she said.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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