Keroche Breweries decries closure of plant, urges President to intervene

Keroche Breweries has petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in their ongoing tax arrears saga of Kshs.322 Million with KRA.

The plant has remained closed since 1st February 2022 after a back and forth with KRA, and their attempts to reach out to the Commissioner General have been futile.

Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja says they have 2 Million litres of beer worth about Kshs 512 Million in their tanks which now requires Kshs 30 Million monthly to maintain.

“The recent closure by KRA has drained all our resources and unfortunately if nothing is done in the next seven days, we will be forced to drain down all the beer and lay down over 250 direct employees and thousands within our nationwide distribution network,” She said.

She said the uncertainty will lead to loss of income for thousands of Kenyans who are indirectly involved in the distribution network, Erosion of Investors’ confidence as well as Killing of local industries leaving Multinationals to monopolize the economy.

Tabitha now want the President to give assurance of a certain operating environment free from any harassment through closure of premises on issues that can be handled amicably.

She further wants the President to request KRA to re-open the plant to prevent huge losses and enable them resume production, sales and distribution as well as request KRA to give the company a 12 months’ grace period on the taxes in arrears.

Tabitha however promised that the company will continue paying the current taxes as they fall due.

“This indulgence will enable the company to recover from its current financial woes, be able to settle all its outstanding liabilities and to have a new lease of life,” She said.

She has also beseeched Parliament to formulate laws that extensively protect and cushion local enterprises.

Tabitha says the CS Treasury and Planning should be mandated to give waivers or moratoriums to local enterprises especially during difficult times brought about by a global pandemic such as COVID-19.

She argues that Keroche Breweries has not only provided jobs to Kenyans but it also broke the monopoly of multinationals in the alcoholic beverages sector and in so doing contributed over Ksh 30B in taxes to the exchequer.

Tabitha said in spite of its contribution to the economy, Keroche breweries continues to be victimized and is at the verge of being pushed out of the market.

She said the plant has not operated consistently since last year saying KRA raids have been the order of the day and recent attempts to renegotiate a repayment plan for the tax arrears were rejected.

“On 31st January 2022, KRA closed the plant once again. In such circumstances of operating less than a week, it was impossible for us to raise the amount of money KRA was demanding. We managed to make a further payment of Kshs. 2.5 Million within the short period we were in operation. At this point they refused to accept further negotiations and the office of the Commissioner-Domestic Taxes Department, advised us that their hands were tied and we should seek support from the office of the Commissioner General. Since then we have been trying to reach and even going to his office but we have been unable to reach him for his intervention.” She said.

 

  

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