By CONRAD ONYANGO A national crisis committee under the ministry of tourism has deployed security apparatus to insecurity hot spot zones in the country, an umbrella body for Hotels and caterers has revealed. In a cautionary move, the tourism sector is instilling confidence over hanging anxiety on the sector’s business prospects ahead of the forthcoming general elections. Samburu, Maasai Mara, Narok, Nakuru, Naivasha and Mombasa have been cited as the hot spot zones to watch. “But Mombasa is the hard hit and is currently experiencing close down of businesses especially in the hotel industry,” Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers(KAHC) Mike Macharia said yesterday. Neptune Hotel, a group of three hotels has already closed down one of its shops due to the effects of insecurity, he said. “Our annual elections operation plans are underway in the hot spot zones to protect our staff and tourists through the committee,” said Macharia. He addressed journalists yesterday when National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) announced it has reviewed cost of effluent discharge license for hospitality industry. The charges have dropped from a previous flat rate of Sh 100,000 to a minimum charge of Sh 25,000 and a maximum of Sh 100,000 depending on hotel’s bed capacity. Hotels with bed capacity exceeding 100 will still face a charge of Sh 100,000 while those below 25 beds will pay Sh 25,000. The new charges were gazetted in July under two pieces of legislation, the Water Quality Regulations, Legal Notice Number 120 of 2006 and the Waste Management Regulations, Legal Notice Number 121 of 2006. “But that is still not enough we are planning to further lower charges. Quality and volume will be key to testing pollution load in the next phase. We will be very particular this time,” said NEMA Compliance Director, David Langwen. Over the last two years, hotels were subjected to a blanket charge of Sh 100,000 whether they are small or big establishments. Small scale businesses in Mombasa suffered the most after being forced to develop water infrastructure as well as pay the license charges. “The problem has been with Mombasa water service board, they concentrated most in water supply which is not their role. They are mandated to maintain water infrastructure which they are not doing,” he said. NEMA has also directed the water boards to report their progress on water treatment plants and sewer systems after every three months. Uganda charges on effluent discharge are levied at an equivalent of Sh 26,000 while Tanzania at Sh 50,000. However business charges in Australia are based on the size of the effluent discharge facility and the quantity of effluent generated.