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Crackdown on unlicensed bars in Kirinyaga heightened



Crackdown on unlicensed bars in Kirinyaga heightened

A multi-agency team has intensified a crackdown on unlicensed bars in Kirinyaga County with focus shifting to trading centres.

This comes as some bar operators in Kianyaga town supported the county government in its effort to enforce the County Liquor License Act.

The operators said they had paid for the licenses and asked the multi-agency team to ensure no trader operates without it.

They said payment of taxes is a statutory obligation that no business can evade.

“When we pay for the licenses, the money does not go into any individual’s pocket.

The county government uses this revenue to maintain our roads and to equip our hospitals with much needed medicine. Therefore, let us not fight the efforts of the county,” said Mr Mugo Gikombe, one of the bar owners.

More than 500 bar operators have paid for their licenses with long queues being reported in revenue offices in the sub-counties on Monday.

Sports, Culture and Social Services Executive Dennis Muciimi said about 60 outlets have been shut down and the owners charged in court for selling alcoholic drinks without licenses.

Shutdown outlets

Mr Muciimi said the shutdown outlets will remain closed until the owners comply with the County Alcoholic Drinks Control Act.

“We have intensified inspection of all liquor outlets to ensure compliance. No outlet will be allowed to sell sub-standard alcoholic drinks or operate without the necessary licenses including the medical certificates for staff,” he said.

Mr Muciimi said Kirinyaga has 2200 liquor outlets out of which 1600 have been inspected and approved to pay prescribed fee and continue with operations.

Approval for the other 600 has been put on hold pending further inspection of the liquor premises. 

“We are working hard to ensure we protect consumers of alcoholic drinks by ensuring fair and ethical business practices related to production, distribution, promotion and sale of alcoholic drinks. That is why before we issue you with license we must inspect your outlet,” said Muciimi.

He said no alcoholic outlets will be allowed near schools, places of worship and in residential areas.

Governor Anne Waiguru says the county government will close down all unlicensed bars and those operating in residential areas.

She said the one-year relief that the county government had extended to cushion businesses, including bars against Covid-19 had expired and it was time for bar owners to honour their part of the bargain and pay taxes. 

Ms Waiguru noted that in the last three years, the county government had lost more than Sh100 million as taxes from unpaid liquor licenses. She said bar owners must pay up their unpaid levies to continue operations.

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