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Nairobi investor pens letter to Ruto as multi-million business risks closure

The investor decried they had taken a loan of Sh20 million to start the business but the government had made it difficult to operate

President William Ruto at the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Annual General Meeting in Nairobi

A hotel owner based in Nairobi has written an open letter to President William Ruto and Governor Johnson Sakaja, over the recent directive to revoke licenses for entertainment joints operating in residential areas.

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The investor, who did not disclose their name, took out an advertisement in the Daily Nation on Monday, December 5, to share his frustrations with the two leaders in the hopes of saving his investment and the jobs of over 100 staff.

The hotel owner said they took a loan of Sh20 million to invest in an outdoor restaurant in one of the leafy suburbs and had paid a lease of 10 years

The investor decried that the eatery has now been affected by Governor Sakaja’s crackdown on nightclubs, despite not being a nightclub.

According to the letter, the undisclosed premises gets 80% of its revenue by selling food and only 20% from drinks,

Mr President and our able Nairobi Governor, this is where the problem is; whether you own a restaurant or you own a nightclub in Nairobi and if you wish to operate past 10 or 11 pm, we are all issued with a similar licence called "a night club licence”. So when the licences were revoked, it means both restaurants and nightclubs cannot operate past 10:00 pm.

To Safeguard the Interests of restaurants, which don’t play music, and have highly contributed to Nairobi's GDP, this is an amendment that deserves to be looked into with urgency since a number of restaurants have been caught up in a mess caused by night clubs,” the hotel owner wrote.

The investor, who is on the verge of closing the premises, argued that to close by 10:00 pm as directed by the governor, means the last order for food should be placed by 8.30 pm to ensure guests leave by 9.30 pm, which only yields 15% of the total sales and cannot sustain the restaurant’s daily operational costs.

Mr President, relocating to the designated commercial areas mentioned by the governor means I have to take another loan. I have no other security, Your Excellency, and I am not able to pay my first loan either.

Even worse, the central business District is already full and most people fear for their security after 7:00 pm and there are no sufficient parking spaces. Where the spaces exist, one would find his or her car bungled since restaurants can't provide security in the streets at night,” the letter read.

The investor now wants the head of state to intervene and help save the restaurant as well as secure the jobs of 40,000 Kenyans who have been affected by Governor Sakaja’s crackdown.

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