Samburu County Bar owners have raised concerns over an increase in annual liquor license fees.
They want Governor Jonathan Lelelit’s administration to reduce the annual liquor license fees saying that their businesses are yet to recover from covid19 pandemic impact.
Most bars according to them had closed down in the past two years due to harsh economic times brought by the Covid-19 pandemic effects and high license fees.
Bars Hotels Liquor Traders Association of Kenya (BAHLITA ) Secretary General Boniface Gachoka said that license fees imposed in Samburu County are much higher compared to other counties.
Bar owners they said have continued to suffer from an unfair business environment, leading to the closure of liquor outlets despite employing hundreds of area youth.
“The liquor sector is employing many workers and supporting thousands, including those in the food industry and transportation and therefore there is a need to get fair treatment,” he said.
Some of the bar owners said that they are paying up to Sh135,000 while wines and spirits operators pay Sh62,000 annually for a liquor licence.
“The amount is too high and unaffordable to many,” he noted, adding that similar liquor sellers in other parts of the country are paying between Sh25,000 to Sh50,000.
Doris Mwangi, a member of BAHLITA noted that many bars and liquor outlets have closed down in recent months due to high license fees.
She expressed optimism that they will find common ground with the county government, noting that the talks could help in addressing the challenges they are facing.
They asked the government to intensify the war against the sale of illicit liquor, saying as a result they incur huge losses amounting to millions monthly.
The bar owners said that the sale of substandard and illegal brews was rampant in the area and asked enforcement agencies to intensify crackdowns on the same.